nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2018‒11‒05
four papers chosen by
Daniel Houser
George Mason University

  1. Consciousness is more than meets the eye: a call for a multisensory study of subjective experience By Nathan Faivre; Anat Arzi; Claudia Lunghi; Roy Salomon
  2. The Bilingual Gap in Children's Language and Emotional Development By Cobb-Clark, Deborah A.; Harmon, Colm P.; Staneva, Anita
  3. Positive psychology: A pathway to flourish employee well-being and productivity By Grace Phan-Athiroj Henderson
  4. Time will tell: recovering preferences when choices are noisy By Carlos Alós-Ferrer; Ernst Fehr; Nick Netzer

  1. By: Nathan Faivre (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, LNCO - Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience - EPFL - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne); Anat Arzi (CAM - University of Cambridge [UK]); Claudia Lunghi (Department of Translational Research on New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery - University of Pisa [Pisa]); Roy Salomon (LNCO - Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience - EPFL - Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)
    Abstract: Over the last 30 years, our understanding of the neurocognitive bases of consciousness has improved, mostly through studies employing vision. While studying consciousness in the visual modality presents clear advantages, we believe that a comprehensive scientific account of subjective experience must not neglect other exteroceptive and interoceptive signals as well as the role of multisensory interactions for perceptual and self-consciousness. Here, we briefly review four distinct lines of work which converge in documenting how multisensory signals are processed across several levels and contents of consciousness. Namely, how multisensory interactions occur when consciousness is prevented because of perceptual manipulations (i.e. subliminal stimuli) or because of low vigilance states (i.e. sleep, anesthesia), how interactions between exteroceptive and interoceptive signals give rise to bodily self-consciousness, and how multisensory signals are combined to form metacognitive judgments. By describing the interactions between multisensory signals at the perceptual, cognitive, and metacognitive levels, we illustrate how stepping out the visual comfort zone may help in deriving refined accounts of consciousness, and may allow cancelling out idiosyncrasies of each sense to delineate supramodal mechanisms involved during consciousness.
    Keywords: contents of consciousness,unconscious processing,metacognition,states of consciousness,self
    Date: 2017–03
  2. By: Cobb-Clark, Deborah A. (University of Sydney); Harmon, Colm P. (University of Sydney); Staneva, Anita (University of Sydney)
    Abstract: In this paper we examine whether – conditional on other family inputs – bilingual children achieve different outcomes in language and emotional development. Our data come from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) which allows us to analyze children's language and emotional development in depth. We relax the usual assumption that the production function underpinning child development is not itself a function of the age of the child and estimate the bilingual gap in children's language and emotional development as a cumulative process that depends on current and past endowments of cognitive and non-cognitive capacity. We find that the language development of bilingual children is not significantly different to that of their monolingual peers; however, there is evidence of a positive effect of bilingualism on emotional development.
    Keywords: cognitive and non-cognitive skills, production function, value-added model, cohort studies
    JEL: I20 J24 D10
    Date: 2018–09
  3. By: Grace Phan-Athiroj Henderson (Western Sydney University)
    Abstract: The ability to work in a fast-paced and high-pressure work environment is one of the required skills set by many employers in different industries (Evolve Organic 2018; ME Bank 2018; NetYourJob 2018; NSW Government 2018; Skillforce Recruitment 2018). Some job candidates believe that they are able to cope with such work environment, but in reality, they may be easily triggered by external environment resulting in depression and severe anxiety. Organisations around the world have developed and implemented stress management and intervention programmes to reduce workplace stress; however, studies found that work-related suicide has been increasing in Australia (Reynolds 2017; Routley & Ozanne-Smith 2012), France (Waters 2015), Japan (North 2011), and China (Chan & Ngai 2010). Positive psychology focuses on how people optimise their strengths and values to flourish their life satisfaction and happiness (Lilienfeld, Lynn, Namy, Woolf, Jamieson, Haslam & Slaughter 2012). Hence, this research aims to critically review how positive psychology is used as a stress prevention and management strategy so as to improve employee well-being and productivity and ultimately work-related suicide. The research outcomes demonstrate that although there were criticisms of the positive psychology (Lazarus 2003), many studies (e.g. Lyubomirsky 2008; Seligman et al. 2005; Sergent & Monfrain 2011) found that the application of positive psychology exercises resulted in the improvements of the research participants? depressive personality styles or no improvement over time. In brief, positive psychology helps employees eliminate negative self-talk or self-critics and change themselves from being pessimistic to optimistic. It also tailors a stress prevention and management strategy to each employee by changing their mindset to effectively prevent and manage their work stress which is one of the causes of work-related suicide.
    Keywords: Positive psychology, work stress, work-related suicide, negative self-talk, stress management and prevention strategies
    JEL: I19
    Date: 2018–07
  4. By: Carlos Alós-Ferrer; Ernst Fehr; Nick Netzer
    Abstract: The ability to uncover preferences from choices is fundamental for both positive economics and welfare analysis. Overwhelming evidence shows that choice is stochastic, which has given rise to random utility models as the dominant paradigm in applied microeconomics. However, as is well known, it is not possible to infer the structure of preferences in the absence of assumptions on the structure of noise. This makes it impossible to empirically test the structure of noise independently from the structure of preferences. Here, we show that the difficulty can be bypassed if data sets are enlarged to include response times. A simple condition on response time distributions (a weaker version of first-order stochastic dominance) ensures that choices reveal preferences without assumptions on the structure of utility noise. Sharper results are obtained if the analysis is restricted to specific classes of models. Under symmetric noise, response times allow to uncover preferences for choice pairs outside the data set, and if noise is Fechnerian, even choice probabilities can be forecast out of sample. We conclude by showing that standard random utility models from economics and standard drift-diffusion models from psychology necessarily generate data sets fulfilling our sufficient condition on response time distributions.
    Keywords: Revealed preference, random utility models, response times
    JEL: D11 D81 D83 D87
    Date: 2018–10

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