nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2015‒01‒03
six papers chosen by

  1. 2D:4D Digit Ratio Predicts Delay of Gratification in Preschoolers By Da Silva, Sergio; Moreira, Bruno; Da Costa Jr, Newton
  2. Tradeoffs between Self-interest and Other-Regarding Preferences Cause Willpower Depletion By Hanna Fromell; Daniele Nosenzo; Trudy Owens
  3. Creative Class vs. Individual Creativity ? A Multi-level Approach to the Geography of Creativity By Christoph Alfken
  4. Zukunftsangst! Fear of (and Hope for) the Future and Its Impact on Life Satisfaction By Alan Piper
  5. The Effect of Perceived Regional Accents on Individual Economic Behavior: A Lab Experiment on Linguistic Performance, Cognitive Ratings and Economic Decisions By Heblich, Stephan; Lameli, Alfred; Riener, Gerhard
  6. How individual characteristics shape the structure of social networks By Yann Girard; Florian Hett; Daniel Schunk

  1. By: Da Silva, Sergio; Moreira, Bruno; Da Costa Jr, Newton
    Abstract: We replicate the Stanford marshmallow experiment with a sample of 141 preschoolers and find a correlation between lack of self-control and 2D:4D digit ratio. Children with low 2D:4D digit ratio are less likely to delay gratification. Low 2D:4D digit ratio may indicate high fetal testosterone. If this hypothesis is true, our finding means high fetal testosterone children are less likely to delay gratification.
    Keywords: 2D:4D digit ratio; Delay of gratification; Children; Intertemporal choice
    JEL: D90
    Date: 2014–12–09
  2. By: Hanna Fromell (University of Nottingham, School of Economics); Daniele Nosenzo (University of Nottingham, School of Economics); Trudy Owens (University of Nottingham, School of Economics)
    Abstract: In this paper we show that making choices that involve conflicts between self-interest and otherregarding concerns may deplete cognitive resources and willpower and thus reduce individuals' ability to exert self-control. In a lab experiment we use a series of modified dictator games to manipulate whether subjects are exposed to tradeoffs between their self-interest and the interest of others: in a Conflict treatment the option that maximizes the dictator's payoff always minimizes the recipient's payoff, whereas in the NoConflict treatment dictator’s and recipient’s payoffs are aligned. We then measure how decision-making in the dictator games affects subjects’ performance in a subsequent and unrelated task that requires exertion of willpower. We find that subjects in the Conflict treatment perform significantly worse than those in NoConflict. This effect is particularly marked for dictators who experienced a stronger conflict during the dictator games.
    Keywords: other-regarding preferences; willpower; self-control; depletion; dictator game; Stroop task.
  3. By: Christoph Alfken
    Abstract: For more than ten years the topics creative class, creative industries and creative regions are on the agenda in economic geography literature. Contributions mainly focus on the distribution, mobility and economic impact of creative individuals or companies from a regional perspective. It is believed that the spatial concentration of creative individuals lead to positive regional economic effects and those creative individuals agglomerated in urban and amenity-rich regions characterised by a climate of tolerance. Above all, it is the work of Florida, who gives attention to creative individuals. His quantitative occupational approach can be seen as the prototype and dominant approach, which was adopted in a wide range of other studies. More recently, there is a growing body of literature empirically testing Florida's hypotheses for regions outside the U.S. However, previous empirical studies relied on occupation or industry based definitions as a proxy to identify creative individuals and aggregated regional numbers (e.g. share of creative class). Thus, results are potentially distorted. Instead of observing creative individual's behaviour there are occupation or industry specific characteristics in a region that might correlate with a concentration of these individuals. Moreover, using aggregated data bears the risk of ecological fallacy. Hitherto, economic geographers seem to have ignored insides from other disciplines studying creativity. In psychology it is not a dichotomy of creative and non-creative individuals, instead it is acknowledged that creativity is a matter of degree. The five-factor model ? or big five model ? is a well-recognized concept from psychology to describe an individual's personality based on five basic dimensions: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. The dimension openness captures creative, innovative and artistic performance and interest of an individual. Hence, it should be a more direct measure to identify creative individuals than the approximation by occupations. Thus, the article builds upon insights from psychology and the data of the German Socio-Economic Panel to directly identify creative individuals based on their personality traits. Applying multilevel regression analysis, hypotheses derived from the creative class literature are tested comparing creative individuals with the rest of the workforce. The analysis controls for the individual and industry level to isolate the influence of regional characteristics. The empirical results show some evidence for Florida's hypotheses. Individual characteristics turn out to be the most significant differences, followed by characteristics at the industry level. Regional factors are less important, but urbanity and the share of bohemians are significant predictors. However, the location of creative class can be explained more precisely by their level of human capital and the location of the industries they are working in.
    Keywords: creative class; creativity; big five; personality traits; occupation; social psychology; economic geography
    JEL: O31 O18 R12
    Date: 2014–11
  4. By: Alan Piper
    Abstract: The thoughts that an individual has about the future contribute substantially to their life satisfaction in a positive or negative direction. This is a result found via five different methods, some of which control for personality and disposition and the potential endogeneity of thoughts and life satisfaction. The reduction in life satisfaction experienced by individuals who report being pessimistic is greater than that for well-known objective statuses like unemployment. Including individuals’ thoughts about the future substantially increases the explanatory power of standard life satisfaction models. Life satisfaction is made up of objective and subjective factors and methods exist to account for their potential endogeneity to enhance our understanding of well-being. This investigation is an example of such an analysis combining a subjective factor, thoughts about the future (treated as endogenous), with more standard objective factors to aid understanding regarding well-being.
    Keywords: Life Satisfaction, Subjective Well-Being, GMM, Dynamics, Endogeneity, SOEP, ESS
    JEL: C23 D84 I31
    Date: 2014
  5. By: Heblich, Stephan (University of Bristol); Lameli, Alfred (University of Marburg); Riener, Gerhard (Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE))
    Abstract: Does it matter if you speak with a regional accent? Speaking immediately reveals something of one's own social and cultural identity, be it consciously or unconsciously. Perceiving accents involves not only reconstructing such imprints but also augmenting them with particular attitudes and stereotypes. Even though we know much about attitudes and stereotypes that are transmitted by, e.g. skin color, names or physical attractiveness, we do not yet have satisfactory answers how accent perception affects human behavior. How do people act in economically relevant contexts when they are confronted with regional accents? This paper reports a laboratory experiment where we address this question. Participants in our experiment conduct cognitive tests where they can choose to either cooperate or compete with a randomly matched male opponent identified only via his rendering of a standardized text in either a regional accent or standard accent. We find a strong connection between the linguistic performance and the cognitive rating of the opponent. When matched with an opponent who speaks the accent of the participant's home region – the in-group opponent –, individuals tend to cooperate significantly more often. By contrast, they are more likely to compete when matched with an accent speaker from outside their home region, the out-group opponent. Our findings demonstrate, firstly, that the perception of an out-group accent leads not only to social discrimination but also influences economic decisions. Secondly, they suggest that this economic behavior is not necessarily attributable to the perception of a regional accent per se, but rather to the social rating of linguistic distance and the in-group/out-group perception it evokes.
    Keywords: discrimination, accent, in-group/out-group, lab experiment
    JEL: C90 J70 Z10
    Date: 2014–11
  6. By: Yann Girard (GSEFM, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany); Florian Hett (GSEFM, Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany); Daniel Schunk (Department of Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universitaet Mainz, Germany)
    Abstract: We study how students’ social networks emerge by documenting systematic patterns in the process of friendship formation of incoming students; these students all start out in a new environment and thus jointly create a new social network. As a specific novelty, we consider cooperativeness, time and risk preferences - elicited experimentally - together with factors like socioeconomic and personality characteristics. We find a number of robust predictors of link formation and of the position within the social network (local and global network centrality). In particular, cooperativeness has a complex association with link formation. We also find evidence for homophily along several dimensions. Finally, our results show that despite these systematic patterns, social network structures can be exogenously manipulated, as we find that random assignments of students to groups on the first two days of university impacts the students’ friendship formation process.
    Keywords: Social networks, education, link formation, homophily, cooperation, field and lab data
    JEL: C93 D85 I25 J24
    Date: 2014–11–17

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