nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2009‒07‒03
nine papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  2. Is Behavioral Economics Doomed? By David K Levine
  3. Some aspects regarding researches in a neuromarketing project, the bioethics implications of these and the realization risks By Corbu, Ion
  4. The search for person-career fit: do cognitive styles matter? By Cools, E.; Vanderheyden,K.
  5. Writers’ Shift Between Error Correction and Sentence Composing: Competing Processes and the Executive Function By Quinlan Th.; Loncke M.; Leijten M.; Van Waes L.
  6. Rule-Rationality and the Evolutionary Foundations of Hyperbolic Discounting By Hillel Bavli
  7. What Comes to Mind By Nicola Gennaioli; Andrei Shleifer
  8. Attitudes toward Uncertainty among the Poor: Evidence from Rural Ethiopia By Akay, Alpaslan; Martinsson, Peter; Medhin, Haileselassie; Trautmann, Stefan T.
  9. Obesity, Self-esteem and Wages By Naci H. Mocan; Erdal Tekin

  1. By: POPESCU, Ion (Universitatea Spiru Haret, Facultatea de Finante si Banci); Bondrea, Aurelian (Universitatea Spiru Haret, Facultatea de Finante si Banci); Constantinescu, Madalina (Universitatea Spiru Haret, Facultatea de Finante si Banci)
    Abstract: Our article offers a survey of behavioral economics and in its actual directions such neuroeconomics, including his historical origins, results, and methods. Our central thesis is that the development of behavioral economics in important respects parallels the development of cognitive science. Neuroeconomics has further bridged the once disparate fields of economics and psychology. Such convergence is almost exclusively attributable to changes within economics. Neuroeconomics has inspired more change within economics than within psychology because the most important findings in Neuroeconomics have posed more of a challenge to the standard economic perspective. The single most important source of inspiration for behavioral economists has been behavioral decision research, which can, in turn, be seen as an integration of ideas from cognitive science and economics. Neuroeconomics has primarily challenged the standard economic assumption that decision making is a unitary process a simple matter of integrated and coherent utility maximization suggesting instead that it is driven by the interaction between automatic and controlled processes. This article reviews neuroeconomic research in areas of interest to both economists and psychologists: decision making under risk and uncertainty, intertemporal choice, and social decision making.
    Keywords: neuroeconomics; behavioural economics; affect; behavioral welfare economics; decision making; caeteris paribus
    JEL: D84 D87 I38
    Date: 2009–06–16
  2. By: David K Levine
    Date: 2009–06–20
  3. By: Corbu, Ion (Universitatea Spiru Haret, Facultatea de Finante si Banci)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research area which addresses top-level fields of cognitive neurosciences like: neuromarketing, neuroeconomy, neuropsychiatry, psychoinformatics, and magnetic functional resonance-based imagistics. Human being ontology assumes an assembly of individual and societal needs and necessities, which are emotionally and rationally related. Rational-emotional rate in decisionmaking process at neocortex level is quite random and has some interchange ability and relativity degree. Some new investigation studies made on this process, using functional neuroimagistics, led to some cerebral mechanism findings which influences decision-making process regarding choosing and gaining of some satisfactors to resolve the human needs and necessities, the last ones being understand like human requests valorized using the value-norm system pertaining to a given social, technical, economic and cultural space and partially or integrally accepted at an individual level. In this respect, satisfactors, treated by themselves or by symbolic representations, are stimuli for human subjects while treating and processing of their impact on subjects behavior is a complex process which, taking the project hypotheses, could be solved by means of exploring, analyzing and interpreting all or as many as possible factors influencing this process in all stages. Therefore, at a theoretical level, the main block sequences which are targeted by this project research are: satisfactors, symbolic representations of satisfactors, the current behavior of human subjects, human subjects behavior related to a given satisfactors range, human subjects behavior related to symbolic representations of these satisfactors of brand type, loved brand, trade mark, showed like stimuli in various advertising formula and economic and other achievable effects
    Keywords: Neuromarketing; branding; advertising; satisfactors; cognitive sciences
    JEL: M31
    Date: 2009–06–16
  4. By: Cools, E.; Vanderheyden,K. (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)
    Abstract: Given the lack of unequivocal findings on person-career fit, this investigation aims to gain insight into the role of cognitive styles in understanding students’ career preferences by two complementary studies. In study 1, we examined whether students (n = 84) with different cognitive styles differ in their entrepreneurial attitudes. Results showed a strong positive correlation between the creating style and the overall occupational status choice index, which implies a preference to become self-employed. No significant correlations were found between this index and the knowing and the planning style respectively. A more detailed look at the occupational status choice sub-indexes showed a positive correlation for the knowing style with the ‘economic opportunity’ index, for the planning style with ‘security’ and ‘participation in the whole process’, and for the creating style with ‘career’, ‘challenge’, ‘economic opportunity’, ‘autonomy’, ‘authority’, and ‘self-realisation’. No significant differences in overall occupational status choice were found in terms of gender, degree option, or family background in entrepreneurship. Study 2 focused on the link between students’ career anchors and their cognitive styles and personality profile (n = 275). We found for the knowing style a positive correlation with ‘pure challenge’, for the planning style a positive correlation with ‘lifestyle’ and ‘security/stability’ and a negative one with ‘autonomy/independence’, and for the creating style a positive correlation with ‘entrepreneurial creativity’ and ‘pure challenge’ and a negative one with ‘security/stability’. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that cognitive styles and personality traits could predict people’s career anchors to a certain extent. These findings are particularly relevant for career counselling services of higher education institutions and for selection and recruitment policies of organisations. Further cross-sectional as well as longitudinal research in diverse cultural settings is needed to cross-validate and strengthen the conclusions of this study.
    Keywords: Cognitive styles, career preferences, career anchors, entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions, students.
    Date: 2009–06–20
  5. By: Quinlan Th.; Loncke M.; Leijten M.; Van Waes L.
    Abstract: Moment to moment, the skilled writer faces a myriad of potential issues. Different types of problem-solving compete for limited cognitive resources, with executive function presumably coordinating and thereby resolving this competition. In two experiments, we examined the coordination of two common writing tasks, editing and sentence composing. In Experiment 1, participants could approach the tasks in either order. For most items (88%), participants finished the sentence first, and less frequently (12%) corrected the error first. The error-first approach occurred significantly more often under the low-load condition than the high-load condition. For Experiment 2, we asked participants to adopt the less-preferred, error first approach. Success on completing the assigned task-order was affected by both factors, sentence load and error type. These results suggest executive function schedules tasks to mitigate direct competition over working memory resources.
    Date: 2009–06
  6. By: Hillel Bavli
    Abstract: Recent studies involving intertemporal choice have prompted many economists to abandon the classical exponential discount utility function in favor of one characterized by hyperbolic discounting. Hyperbolic discounting, however, implies a reversal of preferences over time that is often described as dynamically inconsistent and ultimately irrational. We analyze hyperbolic discounting and its characteristic preference reversal in the context of rule-rationality, an evolutionary approach to rationality that proposes that people do not maximize utility in each of their acts; rather, they adopt rules of behavior that maximize utility in the aggregate, over all decisions to which an adopted rule applies. In this sense, people maximize over rules rather than acts. Rule-rationality provides a framework through which we may examine the rational basis for hyperbolic discounting in fundamental terms, and in terms of its evolutionary foundations. We conclude that although aspects of hyperbolic discounting may contain a certain destructive potential, it is likely that its evolutionary foundations are sound -- and its application may well be as justified and rational today as it was for our foraging ancestors.
    Date: 2009–06
  7. By: Nicola Gennaioli; Andrei Shleifer
    Abstract: We present a model of judgment under uncertainty, in which an agent combines data received from the external world with information retrieved from memory to evaluate a hypothesis. We focus on what comes to mind immediately, as the agent makes quick, intuitive evaluations. Because the automatic retrieval of data from memory is both limited and selected, the agent's evaluations may be severely biased. This framework can account for some of the evidence on heuristics and biases presented by Kahneman and Tversky, including conjunction and disjunction fallacies.
    JEL: D81
    Date: 2009–06
  8. By: Akay, Alpaslan (IZA); Martinsson, Peter (University of Gothenburg); Medhin, Haileselassie (University of Gothenburg); Trautmann, Stefan T. (Tilburg University)
    Abstract: We looked at risk and ambiguity attitudes among Ethiopian peasants in one of the poorest regions of the world and compared their attitudes to a standard Western university student sample elicited by the same decision task. Strong risk aversion and ambiguity aversion were found with the Ethiopian peasants. Ambiguity aversion was similar for peasants and students, but peasants were more risk averse. Testing for the effect of socio-economic variables on uncertainty attitudes showed that poor health increased both risk and ambiguity aversion.
    Keywords: risk attitudes, ambiguity attitudes, poverty, cultural differences
    JEL: D81 C93 O12
    Date: 2009–06
  9. By: Naci H. Mocan; Erdal Tekin
    Abstract: Obesity is associated with serious health problems, and it can generate adverse economic outcomes. We analyze a nationally-representative sample of young American adults to investigate the interplay between obesity, wages and self-esteem. Wages can be impacted directly by obesity, and they can be influenced by obesity indirectly through the channel of obesity to self-esteem to wages. We find that female wages are directly influenced by body weight, and self-esteem has an impact on wages in case of whites. Being overweight or obese has a negative impact on the self-esteem of females and of black males. The results suggest that obesity has the most significant impact on white women’s wages.
    JEL: I1 I12 J3 J31
    Date: 2009–06

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