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Losers Have Higher Heart Rates

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Okay, here is a study that has very little to do with anyone’s health but it does provide some insight into the way people and apes think. I also think that it will amuse anyone who has gambled and lost.

First the medical science: several well-conducted studies have shown that heart rate goes up and blood pressure is elevated when people lose at the casino, race track or any sort of bet. Emotions can run high…but what about in chimpanzees and bonobos, human’s closest primate relatives?

Researchers at Duke University found that when these animals had to choose whether to wait to obtain larger rewards – or take a gamble to obtain a high-quality treat sooner, they displayed negative emotions when their choice went wrong: pouts, moans, scratching, and banging.

What is clear, however, is that apes do exhibit emotional responses to decision-making, much like unlucky humans do at Vegas.

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