ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (2): 191-204.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.00191

• Special Column for Decision-making Psychology •     Next Articles

The Role of Genes in Risky Decision Making

HE Qinghua;XUE Gui;CHEN Chunhui;DONG Qi;CHEN Chuansheng   

  1. (1 Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China) (2 National Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China) (3 University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA)
  • Received:2014-01-06 Online:2014-02-15 Published:2014-02-15
  • Contact: CHEN Chuansheng


Risky decision making is a complex process that involves weighing different options in terms of their likelihood of potential rewards and risks. It is one of the most important cognitive functions of the human brain. People differ significantly in their everyday risky decision making, partly influenced by genetic and environmental factors. In this article, we first review recent studies investigating the effect of genetic factors on risky decision making, including twin studies and molecular genetic studies. Candidate genes included dopamine-related genes (e.g., COMT and DAT), serotonin-related genes (e.g., SLC6A and TPH1), and other genes (e.g., BDNF). We then discussed the contribution of environment as well as gene-environment interaction to risky decision making. Recent studies have also incorporated brain anatomy and functions as endophenotypes of risky decision making in molecular genetic research. In the final section, we outline directions of future research that should emphasize gene-environment interactions and brain structure and functions as the mediators between genes and risky decision making.

Key words: heritability, genes, risky decision making, environment, gene-environment interaction, brain

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