Neural systems supporting and affecting economically relevant behavior
Oxford Centre for Human Brain Activity, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Abstract: For about a hundred years, theorists and traders alike have tried to unravel and understand the mechanisms and hidden rules underlying and perhaps determining economically relevant behavior. This review focuses on recent developments in neuroeconomics, where the emphasis is placed on two directions of research: first, research exploiting common experiences of urban inhabitants in industrialized societies to provide experimental paradigms with a broader real-life content; second, research based on behavioral genetics, which provides an additional dimension for experimental control and manipulation. In addition, possible limitations of state-of-the-art neuroeconomics research are addressed. It is argued that observations of neuronal systems involved in economic behavior converge to some extent across the technologies and paradigms used. Conceptually, the data available as of today raise the possibility that neuroeconomic research might provide evidence at the neuronal level for the existence of multiple systems of thought and for the importance of conflict. Methodologically, Bayesian approaches in particular may play an important role in identifying mechanisms and establishing causality between patterns of neural activity and economic behavior.
Keywords: neuroeconomics, behavioral genetics, decision-making, consumer behavior, neural system
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