Archive for April, 2009

Neuro-finance is now (slowly) making its way onto the economics curriculum, one instance of which is in Ireland, where Dr. Stephen Kinsella, has included a lecture on it, in his lectures on financial economics. This is probably pretty good news for the neuro-scientists out there, but will it bring new insights, or more navel gazing, to a sub-discipline already deeply involved with itself?

Lecture Note on responses to Intertemporal Choices... Pretty

Lecture Slide on responses to Intertemporal Choices... Pretty

Either way, it’s cutting edge, and it could provide some answers to the questions and (empirically tested) theories  which Kahneman and Tversky have already provided… Dr. Kinsella offers a very helpful list of extra reading and lecture notes, which discusses the neural responses to decisions about whether to take rewards now or later. It’s admittedly fascinating stuff, but I am not sure if it can add up to explanations of how and why the whole financial markets work, but that is not so much an indictment of neurofinance, but more to do with micro and macroeconomics. At least the brain scans give us something to look at.

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Once again, what is neuroeconomics? I would argue that 2 coming symposia organized in The Netherlands are about neuroeconomics. At least two prominent figures in neuroeconomics present talks – Allen Sanfey from the University of Arizona, and Scott Huettel from Duke University. The topic of the symposium is about decisions, reward, punishment, fairness, risk taking, … which are the bread and butter of neuroeconomics.

The Invisible Man

Yet, “neuroeconomics” is nowhere to be seen in the program. So I would argue that this is brand management in action here: depending on the audience, the place, and the strategic goal pursued in a given communication exercise, the displayed identity is molded with care. Now, the question is: what makes the brand “neuroeconomics” suitable in some circumstances, and undesirable in others? What are the reasons that make of neuroeconomics a brand to promote, or to keep invisible?

Program of the 2 symposia in decision-making (aka neuroeconomics):

(20-22 April 2009, Nijmegen, Netherlands)

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