The older we get, the less likely we are to take risks – and this preference for familiar things may be caused by a change in our brain structures. A new study shows that risk aversion may be associated with an increase in grey matter in the right posterior parietal cortex. Researchers asked a group of people, ranging from 18 to 88-years-old, to make a decision in a task that involved gambling. As predicted, certain people were more likely to pick a safer option; but further analysis showed that it’s the grey matter in the parietal cortex, not age, that better predicted this outcome.


Michael A. Grubb, Agnieszka Tymula, Sharon Gilaie-Dotan, Paul W. Glimcher & Ifat Levy

Corresponding author:

Ifat Levy, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, Email:

Original paper published in Nature Communications on December 13, 2016.