An unexpected way to manage risk better

Information security concerns managing uncertain outcomes, so it's based on an understanding of those uncertain outcomes. Some people do this better than others. Like the subjects in the research by psychologists Baba Shiv, George Loewenstein, Antoine Bechara, Hanna Damasio and Antonio Damasio that's described in "Investment Behavior and the Negative Side of Emotion."

Can dysfunction in neural systems subserving emotion lead, under certain circumstances, to more advantageous decisions? To answer this question, we investigated how normal participants, patients with stable focal lesions in brain regions related to emotion (target patients), and patients with stable focal lesions in brain regions unrelated to emotion (control patients) made 20 rounds of investment decisions. Target patients made more advantageous decisions and ultimately earned more money from their investments than the normal participants and control patients. When normal participants and control patients either won or lost money on an investment round, they adopted a conservative strategy and became more reluctant to invest on the subsequent round; these results suggest that they were more affected than target patients by the outcomes of decisions made in the previous rounds.

In other words, the test subjects with brain damage actually did a better job of managing risk than the test subjects without brain damage. I'm not sure that I want to think about the implications of that in the field of information security for too long.

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