nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2020‒02‒03
three papers chosen by

  1. Motivated Errors By Christine L. Exley; Judd B. Kessler
  2. Competitiveness, gender and handedness: a large- sample intercultural study By Buser, Thomas; Cappelen, Alexander; Gneezy, Uri; Hoffman, Moshe; Tungodden, Bertil
  3. Individual Differences In Bilingual Experience Modulate Executive Control Network And Performance: Behavioral And Structural Neuroimaging Evidence By Federico Gallo; Nikolay Novitskiy; Andriy Myachykov; Yury Shtyrov

  1. By: Christine L. Exley; Judd B. Kessler
    Abstract: In three sets of experiments involving over 4,200 subjects, we show that agents motivated to be selfish make systematic decision errors of the kind generally attributed to cognitive limitations or behavioral biases. We show that these decision errors are eliminated (or dramatically reduced) when self-serving motives are removed. We say that individuals make "motivated errors." They make decision errors, but only when it is self-serving to do so.
    JEL: C91 D64 D91
    Date: 2019–12
  2. By: Buser, Thomas (University of Amsterdam); Cappelen, Alexander (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration); Gneezy, Uri (Rady School of Management, USCD); Hoffman, Moshe (MIT and Harvard); Tungodden, Bertil (Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration)
    Abstract: We conduct a large-scale intercultural experiment to elicit competitiveness and ask whether individual and gender differences in competitiveness are partially determined by nature. We use being a “lefty” (i.e., having either a dominant left hand or a dominant left foot) as a proxy for nature, as it is associated with neurological differences which are determined prenatally and reflects a masculinized neurology. That way we use handedness and footedness as a proxy for innate differences. In large-scale data with incentivized choices from 3683 participants from India, Norway and Tanzania, we find a significant gender gap in competitiveness in all cultures. However, we find inconsistent results when comparing the competitiveness of lefties and righties. In northeast India we find that lefties of both genders are significantly more competitive than righties. In Norway we find that lefty men are more competitive than any other group, but women’s competitiveness is not related to handedness or footedness. In Tanzania, we find no effect of handedness or footedness on the competitiveness of either gender. The merged data show weak evidence of a positive correlation between being a lefty and competitiveness for men, but no such evidence for women. Thus, our data do not provide robust evidence that gender differences in competitiveness are partially determined by nature, where nature is represented by the complex, physiologically-rooted phenomenon of handedness.
    Keywords: Competitiveness
    JEL: A00
    Date: 2020–01–16
  3. By: Federico Gallo (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University); Nikolay Novitskiy (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Northumbria University); Andriy Myachykov (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Northumbria University); Yury Shtyrov (National Research University Higher School of Economics, Northumbria University)
    Abstract: Dual/multiple language use has been suggested to affect human cognition and neural substrates. Nevertheless, considerable variability emerges concerning replicability of such effects, likely originating in the common practice of reducing the spectrum of bilingualism to a dichotomy of presence vs. absence (i.e., bi- vs. monolingualism), thus diluting the role of interindividual variability in bilingual experience in modulating neuroplastic and cognitive changes. To address this, we operationalized the main bilingual experience factors as continuous variables, investigating their effects on executive control (EC) performance and neural substrate deploying a Flanker task and structural MRI. Higher L2 proficiency predicted better executive performance. Moreover, neuroimaging results indicated that bilingualism-related neuroplasticity may peak at a certain stage of bilingual experience and eventually revert, possibly following functional specialization. Indeed, experienced bilinguals optimized behavioral performance independently of volumetric variations in executive areas. We conclude that individual differences in bilingual experience modulate bilingualism’s cognitive and neural consequences
    Keywords: bilingualism, bilingual experience factors, executive control, structural MRI, region-based-morphometry
    JEL: Z
    Date: 2020

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