The neural correlates of risk propensity in males and females using resting-state fMRI

Yuan Zhou, Shu Li, John Dunn, Huandong Li, Wen Qin, Maohu Zhu, Li-Lin Rao, Ming Song, Chunshui Yu, Tianzi Jiang

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    37 Citations (Scopus)


    Men are more risk prone than women, but the underlying basis remains unclear. To investigate this question, we developed a trait-like measure of risk propensity which we correlated with resting-state functional connectivity to identify sex differences. Specifically, we used short- and long-range functional connectivity densities to identify associated brain regions and examined their functional connectivities in resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data collected from a large sample of healthy young volunteers. We found that men had a higher level of general risk propensity (GRP) than women. At the neural level, although they shared a common neural correlate of GRP in a network centered at the right inferior frontal gyrus, men and women differed in a network centered at the right secondary somatosensory cortex, which included the bilateral dorsal anterior/middle insular cortices and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. In addition, men and women differed in a local network centered at the left inferior orbitofrontal cortex. Most of the regions identified by this resting-state fMRI study have been previously implicated in risk processing when people make risky decisions. This study provides a new perspective on the brain-behavioral relationships in risky decision making and contributes to our understanding of sex differences in risk propensity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages13
    JournalFrontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience
    Issue numberJAN
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2014


    • Functional connectivity
    • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
    • Resting state
    • Risk propensity
    • Sex difference


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