Tuesday, May 03, 2005


I finished reading Decisions, Uncertainty, and the Brain : The Science of Neuroeconomics by Paul W. Glimcher yesterday, and have to say it was a good and interesting read. I initially picked up the book with the hopes of seeing how cognitive neuroscience can be applied to economics, but the book focuses on the opposite - how economics can be applied to cognitive neuroscience. But this wasn't disappointing by any means.

Glimcher explores the biological sciences and explains that the field of study is on a convergent path with economics. Probability theory, game theory, and many other economic tools being used to explain decision making within society are used in behavioural studies of animals, and other life sciences. He even shows a few models where successful experiments based on game theory have been performed on animals, showing that evolution tends to move towards near-optimal strategies that one can calculate using game theory.

Of course, this doesn't mean neuroeconomics is strictly concerned with using economics in the life sciences. The field works both ways. By studying the brain and developing neural models of decision making processes, can we create more accurate utility curves or create macroeconomic models based on simplified "brains" (neural networks) interacting within a "societal system" in a super computer?

I've found two very interesting blogs on this topic: Kevin McCabe's Neuroscience Blog and Decision Science News. Very good sources of information on economics, behavioural economics, and neuroeconomics.


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