Prediction of individual differences in risky behavior in young adults via variations in local brain structure.
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In recent years the problem of how inter-individual differences play a role in risk-taking behavior has become a much debated issue. We investigated this problem based on the well-known balloon analog risk task (BART) in 48 healthy subjects in which participants inflate a virtual balloon opting for a higher score in the face of a riskier chance of the balloon explosion. In this study, based on a structural Voxel Based Morphometry (VBM) technique we demonstrate a significant positive correlation between BART score and size of the gray matter volume in the anterior insula in riskier subjects. Although the anterior insula is among the candidate brain areas that were involved in the risk taking behavior in fMRI studies, here based on our structural data it is the only area that was significantly related to structural variation among different subjects.