The Insula: Brain Matter That Makes You Fall For Casino Tricks

The gambling industry is based on similar business models as many other business ventures we come across in our daily lives. Though, gambling comes with risk elements that the brain pushes aside when the desire to win becomes too hard to control. We are known to take risks in life from time to time, but most of those times, the probable chances of success far outweigh the chances of failure.

However, this is not the case with gambling. Gambling is a game of chance whereby the chances of success and failure cancel each other, so why do we continue to indulge when the likelihood of failure is relatively high? According to new research, a small part of the brain nestled inside our cerebral cortices called the insula, is responsible for our continued efforts with gambling.

Further research suggests that the insula is the part of the brain which helps us to feel intense feelings, such as love, hunger and anxiety. The insula is considered fragile brain matter, which can easily be damaged. While it may sound scary, this new research comes as a blessing in disguise for those who love gambling, as a damaged insula reduces gambling distortions. Neuroscientists in on-going research, are proving how the insula leads to delusional fallacies. It also shows that it is this delusional fallacy that enables gamblers to see non-existent patterns in casino games like roulette.

A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports scientists discovered that people who do not suffer from a damaged insula, are associated with feelings of optimism. These test subjects exhibited a strong sense of hopefulness at near misses for success when persisting in their endeavours to win. When players, who do not have an insula problem , experience near misses during gameplay, they tend to demonstrate a strong will of persisting in the next round. Based on this, they are convinced that the next round will pay out.

Furthermore, when playing roulette for example, people with a hyperactive insula tend to bet on the colour they assume will win. The reason behind this thinking is that all colours have to bring about wins in a cyclical way. People with hyperactive insula do not believe in the randomness of the casino games, but are rather convinced that there's a sequence in which winning colours come about.

The irrational response exhibited by people with hyperactive insula fuelled neuroscientists' research, in that gambling addictions may be treated by reducing insula hyperactivity. If this hypothesis is indeed proven, then there's a high chance that most gamblers would start exercising caution when playing their stakes at the table. Though as we all wait in anticipation for this great news to be confirmed, gamblers will have to use traditional gambling addiction cautionary practices to guard against irresponsible behaviour. Some of these methods include staying away from the play table in certain instances and playing with the absence of alcohol present.