Study Finds Gamblers Brains Are Similar to Those of Pigeons

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Aug/27/2014
Study Finds Gamblers Brains Are Similar to Those of Pigeons

Psychologists at Warwick University, in the United Kingdom have concluded that gamblers brains are similar to those of pigeons.

Don't fret gamblers. 

While the pigeon’s brain is considerably smaller than that of a human, they are actually highly intelligent birds (believe it or not) that can recognise all 26 letters of the alphabet as well as being able to conceptualise.  Compared to the turkey, which will drown look up at the rain during a storm, the pigeon is like Einstein in the world of Columbidae.

It’s not their intelligence that makes these birds comparable to gamblers, however.

Instead, it is the risky decisions that gamblers make and the similar tendencies of greedy pigeons.

"Both humans and pigeons were shown to be less risk averse for high rewards then they were for low rewards and this is linked to our past memories and experiences of making risky decisions," said Dr. Elliot Ludvig, a psychologist at Warwick and lead author of the new study -- published this week in the journal Biology Letters.

"When people gamble, they often rely on past experiences with risk and rewards to make decisions," Ludvig explained. "What we found in this study is that both pigeons used these past experiences in very similar ways to guide their future gambling decisions.

"Birds are distantly related to humans, yet we still share the same basic psychology that drives risk-taking," Ludvig said. "This may be due to a shared common ancestry or similar evolutionary pressures.”

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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