nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2015‒12‒28
three papers chosen by

  1. Atheists Score Higher on Cognitive Reflection Tests By Da Silva, Sergio; Matsushita, Raul; Seifert, Guilherme; De Carvalho, Mateus
  2. Parental health and children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development: New evidence from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children By Huong Thu Le; Ha Trong Nguyen
  3. Understanding Conformity: An Experimental Investigation By B. Douglas Bernheim; Christine L. Exley

  1. By: Da Silva, Sergio; Matsushita, Raul; Seifert, Guilherme; De Carvalho, Mateus
    Abstract: We administrate the cognitive reflection test devised by Frederick to a sample of 483 undergraduates and discriminate the sample to consider selected demographic characteristics. For the sake of robustness, we take two extra versions that present cues for removing the automatic (but wrong) answers suggested by the test. We find a participant’s gender and religious attitude to matter for the test performance on the three versions. Males score significantly higher than females, and so do atheists of either gender. While the former result replicates a previous finding that is now reasonably well established, the latter is new. The fact that atheists score higher agrees with the literature showing that belief is an automatic manifestation of the mind and its default mode. Disbelieving seems to require deliberative cognitive ability. Such results are verified by an extra sample of 81 participants using Google Docs questionnaires via the Internet.
    Keywords: Cognitive Reflection, Religiosity, Atheism, Cognitive Psychology
    JEL: Y80 Z12
    Date: 2015
  2. By: Huong Thu Le (Queensland University of Technology); Ha Trong Nguyen (Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, Curtin University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the effects of maternal and paternal health on cognitive and non-cognitive development in Australian children. The underlying nationally representative panel data and a child fixed effects estimator are used to overcome most of the previous cross-sectional study limitation in dealing with unobserved heterogeneity. While previous literature has found evidence supporting the adverse impact of poor parental health on child development our results found little evidence to support this. We also found little differential effect based on the gender of the child, the parent, or household income levels. However, we found a small amount of evidence suggesting that poor parental health may worsen some cognitive and non-cognitive skills of young children only. Our results demonstrate that either failing to account for parent-child fixed effects or using child non-cognitive skills reported by parents could over-estimate the harmful impact of poor parental health on child development.
    Keywords: Intergenerational transmission, health, education, panel data, Australia
    JEL: I14 J24
    Date: 2015–11
  3. By: B. Douglas Bernheim (Stanford University); Christine L. Exley (Harvard Business School, Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit)
    Abstract: Some theories of conformity hold that social equilibrium either standardizes inferences or promotes a shared understanding of conventions and norms among individuals with fixed heterogeneous preferences (belief mechanisms). Others depict tastes as fluid and hence subject to social influences (preference mechanisms). Belief mechanisms dominate discussions of conformity within economics, but preference mechanisms receive significant attention in other social sciences. This paper seeks to determine whether conformity is attributable to belief mechanisms or preference mechanisms by exploiting their distinctive implications for the process of convergence. Laboratory experiments suggest that economists have focused too narrowly on explanations for conformity involving belief mechanisms.
    Keywords: conformity, norms, image motivation, prosocial behavior,
    Date: 2015–12

General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.