Archivio per 8 febbraio 2015

08
Feb
15

Center for Neuropolicy

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond
Background

For decades, neuroscientists, psychologists, and economists have studied human decision making from different perspectives. Although each has approached the problem with different theories and techniques, the basic question is common to many fields: why do humans make the choices that they do? And, given that humans sometimes exercise poor judgment in their decisions, what can we do about it?

Economists have developed simple theories of decision-making, for example, that are used to understand the movement of asset prices in markets. The basic theory says that people make decisions in such a way as to achieve outcomes that maximize their benefit. Although more mathematically precise, it has much in common with psychological theories that say that people tend to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Although these theories describe basic tendencies of all animals, they often fail to account for decisions in common circumstances. For example, when individuals must make decisions in which an immediate benefit must be weighed against long-term consequences, they usually choose immediate gratification. Diet and preventive health care often fall prey to this temporal myopia. So do retirement savings.

The idea behind neuroeconomics is simple. The brain is responsible for carrying out all of the decisions that humans make, but because it is a biophysical system that evolved to perform specific functions, understanding these physical constraints may help explain why people often fail to make good decisions.

The emphasis in neuroeconomics has been on individual decision making. There is, however, potential for taking these techniques to a much larger, globally important level: collective action.

See on neuropolicy.emory.edu

08
Feb
15

How to Handle the Vaccine Skeptics

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

THE alarming number of measles cases — a record 644 last year, and 102 last month, the most since the disease was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000 — has focused scrutiny on parents who refuse vaccinations for their children. There are some who want state and local governments to sue, or even criminally charge, such parents. A bill in California would end all nonmedical exemptions to immunization requirements.

For epidemiologists like me, eliminating exemptions may seem satisfying, but it is not the wisest policy for protecting kids. Instead, we should borrow a concept from behavioral economics, and use administrative rules and procedures to “nudge” parents to immunize their kids, rather than trying to castigate or penalize these parents.

Currently, all states allow medical exemptions, since some children — for example, those getting chemotherapy or who have certain types of immune disorders — cannot safely receive vaccines. All but two states (Mississippi and West Virginia) allow exemptions for religious reasons. Nineteen states allow exemptions based on personal (or “philosophical”) beliefs. Such beliefs are increasingly cited by parents whose misplaced skepticism is not really principled but premised, rather, on false notions like that of a link between autism and the measles vaccine.

See on nytimes.com

08
Feb
15

Frontiers | Toward a general theoretical framework for judgment and decision-making | Decision Neuroscience

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Over the past 30 years, behavioral and experimental economists and psychologists have made great strides in identifying phenomena that cannot be explained by the classical model of rational choice–anomalies in the discounting of future wealth, present bias, loss aversion, the endowment effect, and aversion to ambiguity, for example. In response to these findings, there has been an enormous amount of research by behavioral scientists aimed at modeling and understanding the nature of these biases. However, these models, typically assuming situation-specific psychological processes, have shed limited light on the conditions for and boundaries of the different biases, substantially neglecting their relative importance and joint effect. Much less attention has been paid to the investigation of the links between different biases. As a consequence of this approach, it is not always clear which model should be used to predict behavior in a new setting, and maybe a more general theory is needed. We believe that the field of neuroeconomics, which has experienced a rapid growth over the past decade, can play an important role in bridging these gaps, contributing to the building of a general theoretical framework for judgment and decision-making behaviors.

Apparently inconsistent biases
One of the main insights from decision-making studies is that people tend to overweight small probability events in risky one-shot decisions (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979). This tendency can explain why, for example, people buy lottery tickets and insurance. However, one might wonder, for instance, why in most Western Countries driving insurance is compulsory (how many drivers would spontaneously ensure?); Why the enforcement of safety rules at the workplace and of safe medical procedures have become social issues of primary importance, causing massive public and private investments (Erev et al., 2010); or why only a small share of people actually participate in lotto games on a regular basis (Pérez & Humphreys, 2011). 

See on journal.frontiersin.org

08
Feb
15

Homer Economicus or Homer Sapiens? Behavioral Economics in The Simpsons

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Do It With Models September 2013 Behavioral economists study the ways in which people act irrationally (i.e. at odds with their objective long-term best interests), and behavioral economics research has identified and characterized a number of consistent biases in decision making. An interesting feature of the characters in The Simpsons is that they illustrate many of the specific biases that behavioral economists study, including timeinconsistency, loss aversion, bounded rationality, and susceptibility to framing effects. Despite these “human” characteristics, however, none of the characters can be viewed as purely rational or irrational, and this feature contributes to the relevancy and longevity of the show.

See on economistsdoitwithmodels.com

08
Feb
15

Learn Languages Better With This Psychological Tip — PsyBlog

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

Boost language learning with this tip.

Using gestures while trying to learn a new language can help boost memory, a new study finds. The motor system, the part of the brain controlling movements, seems to be particularly important in language learning.

While many language learning systems already incorporate pictures to help people learn, this is one of the first studies to show the importance of gesture.

In the experiment, published in the journal Current Biology, participants tried to learn a made-up language called ‘Vimmish’, chosen so that people would never have heard it before (Mayer et al., 2015).

See on spring.org.uk

08
Feb
15

A New Book on Lies and the Lying Liars We Are

See on Scoop.itBrain Tricks: Belief, Bias, and Blindspots

House was a great show, at least for the first few seasons. Hugh Laurie played a cantankerous drug addict doctor with near-mystical powers of diagnosis, powers whet on the stone of an infallible motto: “Everybody lies.” House was a Mephistopheles figure, but he was telling the truth. A few pages…

See on slate.com

08
Feb
15

Anarchists vs. ISIS: The Revolution in Syria Nobody’s Talking About | CVLT Nation

See on Scoop.itreal utopias

we should all try social experiments more often. http://t.co/ijVk8I32wl

See on cvltnation.com




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