Journal Article

Can neuroscience inform economics? Rationality, emotions and preference formation

Nuno Martins

in Cambridge Journal of Economics

Published on behalf of Cambridge Political Economy Society

Volume 35, issue 2, pages 251-267
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 0309-166X
Published online May 2010 | e-ISSN: 1464-3545 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cje/beq017
Can neuroscience inform economics? Rationality, emotions and preference formation

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  • Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainy
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The interaction between neuroscience and economics has gained much prominence recently, leading to the emergence of the new and expanding field of neuroeconomics. I will argue that, although there is much insight to be gained from the interaction between neuroscience and economics, the implications of recent developments in neuroscience and neuroeconomics for the deductivist methodology of mainstream economics, and its emphasis on prediction of events, have not been sufficiently addressed. In fact, much research on neuroeconomics has contributed to the formulation of deductivist models aimed at the prediction of events, when the more fruitful use of neuroscience in economics consists rather in the utilisation of its insights for the development of an explanation of social behaviour that moves beyond the mainstream deductivist methodology. The somatic marker hypothesis, developed by Damasio and others working closely with him, will be suggested as an alternative framework for conceptualising the emergence of social behaviour from a neurobiological substrate.

Keywords: Neuroscience; Deductivism; Preferences; Open systems; Somatic marker hypothesis; B41; D01; D87; I31

Journal Article.  8460 words. 

Subjects: Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainy ; Welfare and Poverty ; Microeconomics ; Economic Methodology

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