The Why of Buy

Theory says we are rational about money. But brain-probing scientists are discovering otherwise

"Stephen" is trying to win a casino bet. It's not a big one by any measure but a gamble all the same. Here's his play. The house is willing to give him $5--risk free--just to fold. Or he can bet even odds on red and win $15. A blue ball packs him off empty-handed. Stephen swallows, forgoes the sure thing and bets red. A red gumball drops: he's $15 richer.

Stephen is not in Vegas. He's watching a video monitor in Paul Glimcher's neural-science lab at New York University. And his head is plugged into a high-powered Siemens functional magnetic resonance...

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