Society for Neuroeconomics Annual Meeting, 27-29 September at EPFL, 2013, Lausanne, Switzerland
Our annual conference, Neuroeconomics: Decision Making and the Brain, aims to promote interdisciplinary collaborations and discussions on topics lying at the intersection of the brain and decision sciences in the hopes of advancing both theory and research in decision making. To this end, we welcome involvement by all researchers interested in these and related topics, including reward, learning, emotion, and social behavior to name but a few. Our meeting embraces a wide breadth of research; please feel free to download abstracts and other material from our previous conferences below.
Efficient regulation of internal homeostasis and defending it against perturbations requires adaptive behavioral strategies. However, the computational principles mediating the interaction between homeostatic and associative learning processes remain undefined. Here we use a definition of primary rewards, as outcomes fulfilling physiological needs, to build a normative theory showing how learning motivated behaviors may be modulated by internal states. Within this framework, we mathematically prove that seeking rewards is equivalent to the fundamental objective of physiological stability, defining the notion of physiological rationality of behavior. We further suggest a formal basis for temporal discounting of rewards by showing that discounting motivates animals to follow the shortest path in the space of physiological variables toward the desired setpoint. We also explain how animals learn to act predictively to preclude prospective homeostatic challenges, and several other behavioral patterns. Finally, we suggest a computational role for interaction between hypothalamus and the brain reward system.
Celebrity endorsement is omnipresent. However, despite its prevalence, it is unclear why celebrities are more persuasive than (equally attractive) non-famous endorsers. The present study investigates which processes underlie the effect of fame on product memory and purchase intention by the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging methods. We find an increase in activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex (mOFC) underlying the processing of celebrity–product pairings. This finding suggests that the effectiveness of celebrities stems from a transfer of positive affect from celebrity to product. Additional neuroimaging results indicate that this positive affect is elicited by the spontaneous retrieval of explicit memories associated with the celebrity endorser. Also, we demonstrate that neither the activation of implicit memories of earlier exposures nor an increase in attentional processing is essential for a celebrity advertisement to be effective. By explaining the neural mechanism of fame, our results illustrate how neuroscience may contribute to a better understanding of consumer behavior.
Much publicity has been given to the fact that people's economic decisions often deviate from the rational predictions of standard economic models. In the classic ultimatum game, for example, most people turn down financial gains by rejecting unequal monetary splits. The present study points to neglected individual differences in this debate. After participants played the ultimatum game we tested for individual differences in cognitive control capacity of the most and least economic responders. The key finding was that people who were higher in cognitive control, as measured by behavioral (Go/No-Go performance) and neural (No-Go N2 amplitude) markers, did tend to behave more in line with the standard models and showed increased acceptance of unequal splits. Hence, the cognitively highest scoring decision-makers were more likely to maximize their monetary payoffs and adhere to the standard economic predictions. Findings question popular claims with respect to the rejection of standard economic models and the irrationality of human economic decision-making.
Students' internet usage attracts the attention of many researchers in different countries. Differences in internet penetration in diverse countries lead us to ask about the interaction of medium and culture in this process. In this paper we present an analysis based on a sample of 825 students from 18 Russian universities and discuss findings on particularities of students' ICT usage. On the background of the findings of the study, based on data collected in 2008-2009 year during a project "A сross-cultural study of the new learning culture formation in Germany and Russia", we discuss the problem of plagiarism in Russia, the availability of ICT features in Russian universities and an evaluation of the attractiveness of different categories of ICT usage and gender specifics in the use of ICT.
The paper examines the structure, governance, and balance sheets of state-controlled banks in Russia, which accounted for over 55 percent of the total assets in the country's banking system in early 2012. The author offers a credible estimate of the size of the country's state banking sector by including banks that are indirectly owned by public organizations. Contrary to some predictions based on the theoretical literature on economic transition, he explains the relatively high profitability and efficiency of Russian state-controlled banks by pointing to their competitive position in such functions as acquisition and disposal of assets on behalf of the government. Also suggested in the paper is a different way of looking at market concentration in Russia (by consolidating the market shares of core state-controlled banks), which produces a picture of a more concentrated market than officially reported. Lastly, one of the author's interesting conclusions is that China provides a better benchmark than the formerly centrally planned economies of Central and Eastern Europe by which to assess the viability of state ownership of banks in Russia and to evaluate the country's banking sector.
The results of cross-cultural research of implicit theories of innovativeness among students and teachers, representatives of three ethnocultural groups: Russians, the people of the North Caucasus (Chechens and Ingushs) and Tuvinians (N=804) are presented. Intergroup differences in implicit theories of innovativeness are revealed: the ‘individual’ theories of innovativeness prevail among Russians and among the students, the ‘social’ theories of innovativeness are more expressed among respondents from the North Caucasus, Tuva and among the teachers. Using the structural equations modeling the universal model of values impact on implicit theories of innovativeness and attitudes towards innovations is constructed. Values of the Openness to changes and individual theories of innovativeness promote the positive relation to innovations. Results of research have shown that implicit theories of innovativeness differ in different cultures, and values make different impact on the attitudes towards innovations and innovative experience in different cultures.