"By studying how poker player's bluff, scientists say they’ve uncovered new information on a brain region that may drive human decision-making in social settings.
Duke University researchers hooked 20 people to scanners and watched the brain’s reaction as they played a one-card version of poker against either another person, or a computer.
The study, reported today in the journalScience, found the brain’stemporal parietal junctionwas more reactive when the player faced a human opponent, and that activity in the region predicted whether the subject would bluff. This suggests that part of the brain may help coordinate our relationships with other people, said study authorScott Huettel.
“When you engage with another person and detect they’re relevant for your behavior, this is the region that detects it,” said Huettel, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the Durham,North Carolina, university.
The research used avariety of pokersimplified down to one card. The card was either high, and would win if the participant chose to bet, or low, indicating a loss if the research subject bet and was called. Participants won money with a high card or by bluffing with the low card.