New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2008‒04‒15
two papers chosen by
Daniela Raeva

  1. Neuroeconomics: A Critique of 'Neuroeconomics: A Critical Reconsideration' By Stanton, Angela A.
  2. Nucleus accumbens activation mediates the influence of reward cues on financial risk-taking By Knutson, Brian; Wimmer, G. Elliott; Kuhnen, Camelia; Winkielman, Piotr

  1. By: Stanton, Angela A.
    Abstract: Some economists believe that the work of neuroeconomists threatens the theory of economics. Glenn Harrison’s paper “Neuroeconomics: A Critical Reconsideration” attempts to set the score, though the points he makes are hidden behind the fumes of his anger (Glenn W. Harrison 2008). The field of neuroeconomics is barely into its teenage years; and it is trying to do what? Redesign the field of economics developed over a hundred years? No, that is not what neuroeconomics is trying to do, in spite of all the efforts of some economists trying to place it into that shoebox. Neuroeconomics is a Mendelian-Economics of sort; it is a science that is able to generate data by fixing the environment to some degree and looking to see each individual’s choices from the initiation of the decision-making process to its outcome. Standard economics (SE), on the other hand, looks at the average of the outputs of many individuals and proposes how the human chose those outcomes. The two fields, neuroeconomics and SE, are evaluating two sides of the same coin; one with and the other without ceteris paribus; they are not necessarily in conflict with one another.
    Keywords: A debate over the field of Neuroeconomics
    JEL: C90 D01 B41
    Date: 2008–03–25
  2. By: Knutson, Brian; Wimmer, G. Elliott; Kuhnen, Camelia; Winkielman, Piotr
    Abstract: In functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) research, nucleus accumbens (NAcc) activation spontaneously increases prior to financial risk taking. Since anticipation of diverse rewards can increase NAcc activation, even incidental reward cues may influence financial risk-taking. Using event-related FMRI, we predicted and found that anticipation of viewing rewarding stimuli (erotic pictures for 15 heterosexual males) increased financial risk taking, and that this effect was partially mediated by increases in NAcc activation. These results are consistent with the notion that incidental reward cues influence financial risk taking by altering anticipatory affect, and so identify a neuropsychological mechanism that may underlie effective emotional appeals in financial, marketing, and political domains.
    Keywords: neuroeconomics; neurofinance; brain; financial risk taking; risk preferences; decision making; nucleus accumbens; striatum; reward cues; FMRI; brain imaging
    JEL: D81 G11 C91
    Date: 2008–03

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