The Rise Of Neuroeconomics

from the plugged-into-the-brain dept

Eric Roston has submitted his own Time Magazine column about the rise of neuroeconomics: the study of how people make economic decisions by watching their brains (usually using fMRI equipment) as they make the decisions. The neuroeconomists (and, behind them, the neuromarketers) believe that they can figure out a better explanation for why people buy the way they do. It's a fascinating topic that doesn't get all that much attention (though, we've written about it before). The one thing that I think is presented incorrectly, though, is the idea that neuroeconomics is somehow different from traditional "rational man" economics. Those who claim the two are different point to seemingly irrational buying behaviors, but they're only irrational to the person saying it's irrational - not to the buyer. If someone buys something, then they have a reason for doing so. Even if an "objective" (as if that's possible) analysis, says the person shouldn't buy, they believe the utility of the purchase outweighs the cost - even if it's just satisfying some random urge to throw away money.

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  1. identicon
    Peter, 3 Mar 2004 @ 2:22am

    Neuroeconomics

    Mike, Eric,

    I do not think that it is really useful for the neuroeconomic research to discuss in classical terms like "ratinonality" oder "utiliy". In fact, there are obviousily different neuorological decision pattern, which is well-known in neuroscience (for instance see the work of Damasio). To improve our understanding of economic decision making, the first thing we´ve got to do is to collect some new data. And than, yet, we should try to develop some new theorie (with new terms), which fits better to the collected data.

    By the way: Perhaps you would like to participate on the 2nd Conference on Neuroeconomics in May 2004? Further informations: www.connecs.org

    Regards

    Peter


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