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NE101 Lecture Notes

Brains are energetically expensive size plasticity as

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Brains are energetically expensive (size plasticity as an energy saving adaptation). Evolutionary history Association between hippocampus and spatial ability is shared among diverse vertebrae taxa, suggesting ancestral vertebrates had telencephalic localization of spatial processing. October 24, 2012: Behavioral Economics & Neuroeconomics One focus of econ is to understand how humans make decisions – interest in decision making behavior is the link with bio and psych. Behavioral economics differs from traditional economics in its conception of how decisions are made Traditional econ – decisions made rationally and optimally (“cold and calculating”) Behavioral econ – incorporates psychological insights into the mind: decisions affected by our cognitive abilities, emotions, etc. ( bounded rationality ) Rationality vs. Bounded rationality Rationality: Consider everything! (what will I want in the future, what are all the things I could spend this money on, etc.) Consistent! (preferences don't change or depend on irrelevant info/emotions) Find best solution Bounded rationality: Consider what you can given constraints of time, mental efforts, energy, etc. Not necessarily consistent (our brains are not perfect optimizing computers, can be affected by emotions, biases, etc.) Find good enough solution (usually)
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One example of a common human bias: Sensitivity to irrelevant information: anchoring/priming , clearly inferior options, etc. e,g, your UID number even wildly irrelevant information (e.g. did Gandhi die before/after age 9 or age 140) can serve as an anchor irrelevant phrases/modifiers (“$5 fee” vs. “small $5 fee” can make a big difference) A biologically rational “bias”: temporal discounting Goods/services rapidly lose their value to us (and other animals) if we have to wait to get them What is neuroeconomics ? Seeks to understand the neural and behavioral basis of human decision making Behavioral methods games played among subjects in the lab (prisoner's dilemma, dictator game, ultimatum game ) Neuroscience methods fMRI, pharmacology, natural pathologies, move invasive methods in animal models Case study: The Ultimatum Game Acceptance isn't just a matter of rational self-interest (wanting more money) – social emotions like fairness and guilt are involved. Performance in Ultimatum Game may be interplay between activity of PFC (promoting “rational” behavior) and other brain regions producing “emotional” responses Case study: Neuroeconomics of Fairness in Primates Primates behave as if they have concepts of “fairness” and the relative “value” of a reward Seeing another individual get a “better” reward for the same action reduces their willingness to accept the inferior reward.
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