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• “an emerging transdisciplinary ﬁeld that uses
neuroscientiﬁc measurement techniques to identify
the neural substrates associated with
economic decisions” (Zak, 2004, p. 1737)
• “the program for understanding the neural basis of
the behavioral response to scarcity”. (Ross
2005, p. 330)
• “to understand the processes that connect sensation and
action by revealing the neurobiological
mechanisms by which decisions are made". (Glimcher
& Rustichini, 2004, p. 447)
in a nutshell...
The study of the neural mechanisms of decision-
making and their economic signiﬁcance
Knutson, B., Rick, S., Wimmer, G. E., Prelec, D., & Loewenstein, G. (2007). Neural predictors of purchases. Neuron, 53(1), 147-156.
Product Price Choice
“mmm... the price is right
anterior insula < Medial Prefrontal Cortex
the price is not right
anterior insula > Medial Prefrontal Cortex
Risk vs. ambiguity
greater activation in response to risk than in response to ambiguity.
greater activation in response to ambiguity than in response to risk.
fear/vigileance “Affective forecasting”
Hsu, M., Bhatt, M., Adolphs, R., Tranel, D., & Camerer, C. F. (2005). Neural systems responding to degrees of uncertainty in human decision-making. Science, 310(5754), 1680-1683.
$9/$1 $8/$2.... ... ...$1/$9
‘unfair’ offers trigger moral disgust and cognitive conﬂict
Universal Law or
Conditions Prisoner’ Dilemma
Phenomenon Mutual Defection
“A mechanism is a structure performing a function in virtue of
its component parts, component operations, and their
organization. The orchestrated functioning of the
mechanism is responsible for one or more phenomena”
Bechtel, W., & Abrahamsen, A. (2005). Explanation: A mechanist alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, C:, 36(2), 421-441.
Craver, C. F. (2002). Interlevel experiments and multilevel mechanisms in the neuroscience of memory. Philosophy of Science, 69, S83–S97.
advantages of mechanistic models:
‘carve nature at its joints’
better integration with other domains
can be simulated by computational neuroscience
(partly) immune against pessimism (bounded
rationality) and optimism (ecological rationality)
“Inferring preferences from a choice does not tell us everything
we need to know”(Camerer et al., 2004, p. 563).
Camerer, C. F., Loewenstein, G., & Prelec, D. (2004). Neuroeconomics: Why economics needs brains. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 106(3), 555-579.