nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2020‒05‒25
six papers chosen by

  1. Investigating the Genetic Architecture of Non-Cognitive Skills Using GWAS-by-Subtraction By Perline Demange; Margherita Malanchini; Travis Mallard; Pietro Biroli; Simon Cox; Andrew Grotzinger; Elliot Tucker-Drob; Abdel Abdellaoui; Louise Arseneault; Elsje van Bergen; Dorret Boomsma; Avshalom Caspi; David Corcoran; Benjamin Domingue; Kathleen Harris; Hill Ip; Colter Mitchell; Terrie E. Moffitt; Richie Poulton; Joseph Prinz; Karen Sugden; Jasmin Wertz; Ben Williams; Eveline de Zeeuw; Daniel Belsky; K. Paige Harden; Michel Nivard
  2. Deliberation enhances the confirmation bias. An examination of politics and religion. By David L. Dickinson
  3. Intelligence, Errors and Strategic Choices in the Repeated Prisoners Dilemma By Eugenio Proto; Aldo Rustichini; Andis Sofianos
  4. Metacognitive ability predicts learning cue-stimulus associations in the absence of external feedback By Marine Hainguerlot; Jean-Christophe Vergnaud; Vincent de Gardelle
  5. Sleep restriction increases coordination failure By Marco Castillo; David L. Dickinson

  1. By: Perline Demange; Margherita Malanchini; Travis Mallard; Pietro Biroli (University of Zurich); Simon Cox; Andrew Grotzinger; Elliot Tucker-Drob; Abdel Abdellaoui; Louise Arseneault; Elsje van Bergen; Dorret Boomsma; Avshalom Caspi (Duke University); David Corcoran; Benjamin Domingue; Kathleen Harris; Hill Ip; Colter Mitchell; Terrie E. Moffitt (Duke University / King's College London); Richie Poulton; Joseph Prinz; Karen Sugden; Jasmin Wertz; Ben Williams (George Washington University); Eveline de Zeeuw; Daniel Belsky (Columbia University); K. Paige Harden (University of Texas, Austin); Michel Nivard
    Abstract: Educational attainment (EA) is influenced by characteristics other than cognitive ability, but little is known about the genetic architecture of these “non-cognitive” contributions to EA. Here, we use Genomic Structural Equation Modelling and prior genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of EA (N = 1,131,881) and cognitive test performance (N = 257,841) to estimate SNP associations with EA variation that is independent of cognitive ability. We identified 157 genome-wide significant loci and a polygenic architecture accounting for 57% of genetic variance in EA. Non-cognitive genetics were as strongly related to socioeconomic success and longevity as genetic variants associated with cognitive performance. Noncognitive genetics were further related to openness to experience and other personality traits, less risky behavior, and increased risk for psychiatric disorders. Non-cognitive genetics were enriched in the same brain tissues and cell types as cognitive performance, but showed different associations with gray-matter brain volumes. By conducting a GWAS of a phenotype that was not directly measured, we offer a first view of genetic architecture of non-cognitive skills influencing educational success.
    Keywords: genome-wide significant loci, socioeconomic success, longevity
    JEL: I24 I10 I14 J24
    Date: 2020–05
  2. By: David L. Dickinson
    Abstract: This paper present new evidence on the confirmation bias in two polarizing topic areas: politics and religion. While a reasonable amount of evidence has documented this bias in the domain of politics, relatively little existing research has examined the confirmation bias in religion. I developed a novel task in the religious domain to examine the presence of the confirmation bias and its comparative strength compared to that observed in the political domain. Using a preregistered data collection and analysis plan, I examine data from n=402 participants who were prescreened to be distinct in terms of political and religious beliefs. Each was administered a two-pronged confirmation bias online that examined selective information exposure and perceived strength of arguments incongruent to one’s own beliefs regarding “gun control” and the “existence of God”. Results showed strong support for the existence of a confirmation bias along both dimensions and in terms of both information exposure and perceived argument strength. I also examined the hypothesis that the confirmation bias is actually stronger in situations where more thought or deliberation is brought to bear on the task. The evidence here depends on the measure of deliberation used, but generally is in the direction hypothesized. More strongly, we find that individuals who have thought a lot about the topic at hand (gun control and the existence of God displayed more of a confirmation bias in perceived argument strength than those having thought less about the issue. A main contribution of this paper is to offer new evidence documenting the confirmation bias in a more direct task comparison across domains. And, the findings regarding how deliberation may worsen the bias are in line with previous research suggesting the confirmation bias may be unlike other decision biases—this bias may thrive when the decision maker is more is more deliberative or thoughtful. Key Words: Confirmation bias, decision bias, politics, religion, behavioral economics
    JEL: D91 C9 Z1
    Date: 2020
  3. By: Eugenio Proto; Aldo Rustichini; Andis Sofianos
    Abstract: A large literature in behavioral economics has emphasized in the last decades the role of individual differences in social preferences (such as trust and altruism) in influencing behavior in strategic environments. Here we emphasize the role of attention and working memory, and show that social interactions among heterogeneous groups are mediated by differences in cognitive skills. Our design uses a repeated prisoner’s dilemma; we compare rates of cooperation in groups of subjects separated according to their IQ, with those in integrated groups, where subjects of different IQ are pooled together. In integrated groups we observe higher aggregated cooperation rates and profits than in separated groups. There are gains in earnings among lower IQ subjects who learn how to cooperate faster than when they play separately, and smaller losses for higher IQ subjects. We also see that higher IQ subjects become less lenient when they are matched with lower IQ subjects than when they play separately. This pattern is an instance of a general phenomenon, which we demonstrate in an evolutionary game theory model, in which higher IQ among subjects induces –possibly thanks to better working memory– a lower frequency of errors in strategy implementation. We show that players indeed choose less-lenient strategies in environments in which subjects have higher error rates. Estimations of errors and strategies from the experimental data are consistent with the hypothesis and model’s predictions.
    Keywords: Repeated Prisoners Dilemma, Cooperation, Intelligence, IQ, Strategy, Error in Transition
    JEL: C73 C91 C92
    Date: 2020–03
  4. By: Marine Hainguerlot (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne); Jean-Christophe Vergnaud (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne); Vincent de Gardelle (CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, PSE - Paris School of Economics)
    Abstract: Learning how certain cues in our environment predict specific states of nature is an essential ability for survival. However learning typically requires external feedback, which is not always available in everyday life. One potential substitute for external feedback could be to use the confidence we have in our decisions. Under this hypothesis, if no external feedback is available, then the agents' ability to learn about predictive cues should increase with the quality of their confidence judgments (i.e. metacognitive efficiency). We tested and confirmed this novel prediction in an experimental study using a perceptual decision task. We evaluated in separate sessions the metacognitive abilities of participants (N = 65) and their abilities to learn about predictive cues. As predicted, participants with greater metacognitive abilities learned more about the cues. Knowledge of the cues improved accuracy in the perceptual task. Our results provide strong evidence that confidence plays an active role in improving learning and performance.
    Date: 2018–12
  5. By: Marco Castillo; David L. Dickinson
    Abstract: When group outcomes depend on minimal e?ort (e.g., disease containment, work teams, or indigenous hunt success), a classic coordination problem exists. Using a wellestablished paradigm, we examine how a common cognitive state (insu?cient sleep) impacts coordination outcomes. Our data indicate that insu?cient sleep increases coordination failure costs, which suggests that the sleep or, more generally, cognitive composition of a group might determine its ability to escape from a trap of costly miscoordination and wasted cooperative e?orts. These ?ndings are ?rst evidence of the potentially large externality of a commonly experienced biological state (insu?cient sleep) that has in?ltrated many societies. Key Words:
    Date: 2020
  6. By: Thomas Simon (Johns Hopkins University/Nanjing University)
    Abstract: The American Psychological Association submitted a brief in the Supreme Court in Hodgson v. Minnesota (1990), arguing that given that adolescents had similar cognitive skills as adults, they should not be required to notify their parents before having an abortion. Yet, it submitted a brief in Roper v Simmons (2005) arguing that since science had demonstrated that adolescent brains were not as developed as adult brains, they lacked the ability to take moral responsibility for their decisions. Many commentators found these positions inconsistent while others tried to reconcile them. We need to (1) recognize the complex interplay between the cognitive and the emotive, which has legal and educational implications; (2) more effectively integrate the cognitive capacities and so-called emotive short-comings of adolescents; (3) more seriously consider the implications of neuroscientific claims about the adolescent brain; and (4) recognize, encourage, and facilitate the cognitive capacities of people to make moral judgments at a very early age.
    Keywords: abortion, adolescents, brain development, cognitive ability, moral responsibility
    Date: 2020–02

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