nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2023‒09‒04
three papers chosen by

  2. Cognitive Decline and Dynamic Selection By Darden, M.E.;
  3. Childhood Shocks Across Ages and Human Capital Formation By Pedro Carneiro; Kjell Salvanes; Barton Willage; Alexander Willén

  1. By: Mustafina, Kristina (Мустафина, Кристина) (The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration)
    Abstract: Subject Psychological theories in cognitive science. Goal To identify theoretical and metatheoretical approaches to describing the field of cognitive psychology. Relevance During the 65 years of its existence, cognitive psychology has passed the path of development from a newly emerging interdisciplinary area of research to an independent discipline that incorporates various theoretical and methodological traditions. Experimentation as the main method of research, the diversity of research groups working on similar problems, and the use of mathematical modeling and behavioral dependent variables have resulted in the highest level of reproducibility of results obtained in cognitive psychology. Given the success, rapid development, and broad applied and public interest in the field of cognitive psychology, attempts to make sense of the metatheoretical aspects of cognitive research and especially changes in the way theories are constructed and empirically tested are of particular interest for further research both in cognitive psychology and in other psychological fields. Such metatheoretical work is needed: to identify the types of existing cognitive theories that are used in research; to clarify criteria for analyzing current empirical research, as well as for their interpretation; to indicate the changes that have occurred in theoretical work in the field over the past 30-40 years as a separate task. Scientific novelty The paper will review and analyze the main theoretical and metatheoretical approaches to describing the field of cognitive psychology. There are no works that comprehensively analyze the state of psychological theories in cognitive science. Methods Literature analysis. Results Over the past 40 years, research and theories have focused on narrow areas of cognitive science. Theories describing the solution to one problem are limited: they do not accumulate knowledge for the entire field, they do not address higher level processes. Conclusions In cognitive psychology, there is a high degree of fragmentation in theories. One possible solution to the theoretical contradictions is the way of modeling cognitive processes. Another solution is the development of a Unified Theory of Cognition (UTC). Recommendations This study is intended to answer several important theoretical and methodological questions related to the construction and change of theories in cognitive psychology. One of the key problems in the construction and development of cognitive theories is the lack of a clear description of how such theories have changed, what properties they have gained and what properties they have lost. Also, there is a lack of a classification of cognitive psychology theories, the creation of which is one of the results of our research series.
    Keywords: Cognitive science, cognitive psychology, human cognition, task and problem-solving psychology, cognitive theory, cognitive model, theories of different levels, unified theory of cognition
    JEL: E70
    Date: 2022–11
  2. By: Darden, M.E.;
    Abstract: The age profile of cognitive skill decline, and the investments that shape it, are potentially confounded by non-random mortality. I frame this dynamic selection problem in the context of health capital (Grossman, 1972), and I estimate a general model of health investment, health, and mortality. Consistent with theory, I find substantially wider gaps in cognitive health by education, race, and smoking behavior relative to cross-sectional comparisons, in some cases by 100%. Furthermore, these gaps grow in age, which suggests that theories of cognitive decline need to accommodate differential rates of change in cognitive health.
    Keywords: health production; dynamic selection; cognitive skills; dementia; tobacco; disparities;
    JEL: I10 I12 J24
    Date: 2023–08
  3. By: Pedro Carneiro (University College London); Kjell Salvanes (Norges Handelshøyskole); Barton Willage (University of Colorado--Denver); Alexander Willén (Norwegian School of Economics, CESifo, and UCLS)
    Abstract: We provide estimates of the causal impact of shocks to home environments during childhood on the human capital formation of children and their adult earnings, and document how these impacts differ depending on the age of the child when the shock occurs. We do so by comparing the outcomes of children whose parents experienced an involuntary job loss at different points in time. The rich data we have access to enable us to examine a broad range of short- and long-term educational outcomes related to performance, attainment, and behavior. In addition, for a subsample of our cohorts we can explore earnings effects at age 30. Consistent with other studies, we confirm that early childhood represents a crucial time for acquiring skills and abilities, but also establish that changes in the home environment for children in early adolescence matter as much, and sometimes more. We rationalize these results by noting that sensitive periods for different skills occur at different stages of childhood. Furthermore, it is during early adolescence that children face key junctures in their educational choices.
    Keywords: early childhood development, intergenerational links, human capital
    JEL: I20 J12 J13 J63 D10
    Date: 2023–08

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