nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2016‒09‒11
seven papers chosen by

  1. Adverse Outcome Pathway on binding of agonists to ionotropic glutamate receptors in adult brain leading to excitotoxicity that mediates neuronal cell death, contributing to learning and memory impairment By Magdalini Sachana; Sharon Munn; Anna Bal-Price
  2. Insights in cognitive patterns : Essays on heuristics and identification By Rothengatter, Marloes
  3. Prudence, Personality, Cognitive Ability and Emotional State By Breaban, Adriana; van de Kuilen, Gijs; Noussair, Charles
  4. A relational model of perceived overqualification: the moderating role of interpersonal influence on social acceptance By Hong Deng; Yanjun Guan; Chia-Huei Wu; Berrin Erdogan; Talya Bauer; Xiang Yao
  5. Mental capabilities, trading styles, and asset market bubbles: theory and experiment By Andreas Hefti; Steve Heinke; Frédéric Schneider
  6. Breaking the Cycle: the Intergenerational Transmission of Human Capital By Andrew Wheeler
  7. Believe Me, You are (not) that Bad By Gonzalez Jimenez, Victor

  1. By: Magdalini Sachana; Sharon Munn; Anna Bal-Price
    Abstract: Under physiological conditions activation of glutamate ionotropic receptors such as N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDARs), alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate (AMPARs) and kainate (KARs) is responsible for basal excitatory synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity. However, sustained over-activation of these receptors can induce excitotoxic neuronal cell death. Increased Ca2+ influx through NMDARs promotes many pathways of toxicity due to generation of free radical species, reduced ATP production, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and protein aggregation. Neuronal injury induced by over-activation of these receptors and the excessive Ca2+ influx is considered an early key event of excitotoxicity. The proposed AOP is relevant to adult neurotoxicity. The MIE has been defined as a direct binding of agonists to NMDARs or indirect, through prior activation of AMPARs and/or KARs resulting in sustained NMDARs over-activation causing excitotoxic neuronal cell death, mainly in hippocampus and cortex, two brain structures fundamental for learning and memory processes.
    Keywords: impairment of learning and memory in adults, excitotoxicity, ionotropic glutamate receptors, adult neurotoxicity
    Date: 2016–09–09
  2. By: Rothengatter, Marloes (Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management)
    Abstract: People are inclined to find patterns in everything they sense, even if there is no pattern to discover. Humans use action-oriented mental patterns as rules of thumb, so called heuristics, in speedy decision-making. At the same time, we see this desire for pattern finding in social orderliness, in cognitive social psychology, when studying identification. Drawing on analyses of three distinct datasets, this dissertation presents four interrelated studies that aim to advance our understanding of human thinking processes and behavior. Social identification and heuristics are the central topics of this dissertation. Our first study on biases reveals that rational information processing reduces some biases, and that an interaction between rational and intuitive information processing potentially reduces biases to a further extent. In the second study, an experimental approach is taken, regarding the preference for ambiguity in a voting context. By zooming in on projection bias, we come up with an alternative explanation for the preference for ambiguity in voting. The third study is conducted in an organizational setting focusing on organizational identification and its interaction with task autonomy as a determinant of job satisfaction. We find that organizational identification acts as a buffer for the negative effects of low task autonomy. In the fourth study, the focus is again on voting ambiguity, but now with a focus on identification, which seems to have an effect on voting ambiguity as well.
    Date: 2016
  3. By: Breaban, Adriana (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research); van de Kuilen, Gijs (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research); Noussair, Charles (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)
    Abstract: We report an experiment to consider the emotional correlates of prudent decision making. In the experiment, we present subjects with lotteries and measure their emotional response with facial recognition software. They then make binary choices between risky lotteries that distinguish prudent from imprudent individuals. They also perform tasks to measure their cognitive ability and a number of personality characteristics. We find that a more negative emotional state correlates with greater prudence. Higher cognitive ability and less conscientiousness is also associated with greater prudence.
    Keywords: emotions; prudence; personality; cognitive ability
    JEL: C91
    Date: 2016
  4. By: Hong Deng; Yanjun Guan; Chia-Huei Wu; Berrin Erdogan; Talya Bauer; Xiang Yao
    Abstract: Theories of perceived overqualification have tended to focus on employees’ job-related responses to account for effects on performance. We offer an alternative perspective and theorize that perceived overqualification could influence work performance through a relational mechanism. We propose that relational skills, in the form of interpersonal influence of overqualified employees, determine their tendency to experience social acceptance and thus engage in positive work-related behaviors. We tested this relational model across two studies using time-lagged, multi-source data. In Study 1, the results indicated that for employees high on interpersonal influence, perceived overqualification was positively related to self-reported social acceptance, whereas for employees low on interpersonal influence, the relationship was negative. Social acceptance, in turn, was positively related to in-role job performance, interpersonal altruism, and team member proactivity evaluated by supervisors. In Study 2, we focused on peer-reported social acceptance and found that the indirect relationships between perceived overqualification and supervisor-reported behavioral outcomes via social acceptance were negative when interpersonal influence was low and nonsignificant when interpersonal influence was high. The implications of the general findings are discussed.
    Keywords: perceived overqualification; social acceptance; interpersonal influence; performance
    JEL: R14 J01 J50
    Date: 2016
  5. By: Andreas Hefti; Steve Heinke; Frédéric Schneider
    Abstract: We propose that heterogeneous asset trading behavior is the result of two distinct, non-convertible mental dimensions: analytical (“quantitative”) capability and mentalizing (“perspective-taking”) capability. We develop a framework of mental capabilities that yields testable predictions about individual trading behavior, revenue distribution and aggregate outcomes. The two-dimensional structure of mental capabilities predicts the existence of four mental types with distinguishable trading patterns and revenues. Individuals will trade most successfully if and only if they have both capabilities. On the other hand, subjects who can mentalize well but have poor analytical capability will suffer the largest losses. As a consequence, being able in just one dimension does not assure trading success. We test these implications in a laboratory environment, where we first independently elicit subjects’ capabilities in both dimensions and then conduct a standard asset market experiment. We find that individual trading gains and patterns are consistent with our theoretical predictions. Our results suggest that two mental dimensions are necessary to encompass the complex heterogeneous behaviors in asset markets; a one-dimensional measure of mental capability will lead to biased conclusions. The findings have potential implications for financial institutions, which can use the measures to select successful traders, or for policy-makers, helping them to prevent the formation of asset bubbles. Finally, our conceptual framework and the empirical screening method could be applied to explain heterogeneous behavior in other games.
    Keywords: Asset markets, heterogeneity, mental capabilities
    JEL: G02 C92
    Date: 2016–08
  6. By: Andrew Wheeler
    Abstract: This paper examines the causal effect of parental education on the cognitive and non-cognitive development of children. I find that a parent's education is a strong determinant of their child's verbal aptitude, numerical aptitude and educational aspirations. Parents who complete high school rather than just primary school will on average lift their children's cognitive performance by 24 percentiles in maths, 15 percentiles in vocabulary and 23 percentiles in reading tests. Children of these parents will also aspire to complete two more years of schooling. Somewhat surprisingly, I find that parental education has no impact on children's self-esteem or self-efficacy. These results are robust to various specifications. I estimate these effects using instrumental variables, taking a change in education policy with differential effects on North Vietnam and South Vietnam as my instrument. The instruments used are relevant and strong, and there is sound cause to believe that they are valid. To my knowledge, this is the first study to derive a causal relationship between parental education and non-cognitive development. It also contributes to a sparse and unsettled literature on the causal relationship between parental education and cognitive development.
    Keywords: Cognitive Development; Non-cognitive Development; Parental Education; Instrumental Variables
    JEL: I25 I26 I28
    Date: 2016
  7. By: Gonzalez Jimenez, Victor (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)
    Abstract: This paper studies the effect of incentive schemes incorporating status classes on workers’ performance. I focus on performance comparisons between similarly skilled workers that belong to different status classes. A theoretical framework predicts that, under certain conditions, low ability workers attain high performance when they are assigned to a high rather than a low status class, and that high ability workers achieve high performance irrespective of the received status. These predictions are tested in a laboratory setting, where subjects are randomly assigned to a high status or a low status condition and constant performance feedback is provided. The experimental data support both predictions: low ability subjects assigned to the high status condition outperform their low status counterparts by 0.53 standard deviations in a cognitively challenging task, and high ability subjects display high performance outcomes in both status classes. Moreover, I explore the subjects’ beliefs about performance as a mechanism to explain these results. I find that low ability subjects assigned to the high status exhibit performance targets that were as high as those elicited by high ability participants. This suggests that these workers used status to believe that they were good performers, and performed accordingly.
    Keywords: performance; beliefs; experiments; cognition
    JEL: D03 C91 D84 M54 Z13
    Date: 2016

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