nep-neu New Economics Papers
on Neuroeconomics
Issue of 2023‒11‒06
two papers chosen by

  1. Mindfulness Training, Cognitive Performance and Stress Reduction By Charness, Gary; Le Bihan, Yves; Villeval, Marie Claire
  2. Rationality, emotions, and ethnicity: Explaining elite political alignments in a deeply divided society By Omar Shahabudin McDoom

  1. By: Charness, Gary (University of California, Santa Barbara); Le Bihan, Yves (Institut Français du Leadership Positif); Villeval, Marie Claire (CNRS, GATE)
    Abstract: Improving cognitive function and reducing stress may yield important benefits to individuals' health and to society. We conduct an experiment involving a three-month within-firm training program based on the principles of mindfulness and positive psychology at three large companies. We find an improvement in the difference-in-differences across the training and control groups in all five non-incentivized measures and in seven of the eight incentivized tasks but only the non-incentivized measures and one of the incentivized measures reached a standard level of significance (above 5%), showing strong evidence of its impact on both reducing perceived stress and increasing self-reported cognitive flexibility and mindfulness. At the aggregate level, we identify an average treatment effect on the treated for the non-incentivized measures and some effect for the incentivized measures. Remarkably, the treatment effects persisted three months after the training sessions ended. Overall, mindfulness training seems to provide benefits for psychological and cognitive health in adults.
    Keywords: mindfulness, attention, cognition, stress, lab-in-the-field experiment
    JEL: C91 I12
    Date: 2023–09
  2. By: Omar Shahabudin McDoom
    Abstract: The role of ethnicity in political behaviour remains unsettled theoretically. Instrumentalist theories emphasize cognitive processes, arguing that political actors strategically employ ethnicity to attain certain goals, while expressivist theories highlight affectual forces, arguing that actors are motivated by the intrinsic emotional power of identity. I show that neither approach adequately explains real-world intra-ethnic and cross-ethnic behaviour. I develop a new theory, integrating rationality and emotion, and argue that they work together in political decision-making.
    Keywords: Behaviour, Ethnicity, Rwanda
    Date: 2023

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