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Utility and neuroscience: a mechanistic approach of decision-making and rationality

How neuroeconomics can lead to mechanistic explanations

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Utility and neuroscience: a mechanistic approach of decision-making and rationality

  1. 1. Utility and neuroscience: a mechanistic approach of decision-making and rationality Benoit Hardy-Vallée Department of Philosophy University of Waterloo
  2. 2. Neuroeconomics: Definition Methods Results Discussions
  3. 3. Definitions • “an emerging transdisciplinary field that uses neuroscientific measurement techniques to identify the neural substrates associated with economic decisions” (Zak, 2004, p. 1737) • “the program for understanding the neural basis of the behavioral response to scarcity”. (Ross 2005, p. 330) • “to understand the processes that connect sensation and action by revealing the neurobiological mechanisms by which decisions are made". (Glimcher & Rustichini, 2004, p. 447)
  4. 4. in a nutshell... The study of the neural mechanisms of decision- making and their economic significance
  5. 5. Psychology Economic Psychology Neuropsychology Neuroeconomics Economics Neuroscience Computational Neuroscience Bioeconomics Neuroethology Behavioral Ecology
  6. 6. 1881 1926 1952 1994 2003 Ramsey’s Hayek Damasio Glimcher Edgeworth’s psychogalvanometer The Sensory Order Descartes’ Error Decisions, uncertainty, hedonimeter and the brain
  7. 7. Damasio: emotional rationality orbitofrontal cortex Dolan, R. J. (2002). Emotion, cognition, and behavior. Science, 298(5596), 1191-1194.
  8. 8. Neuroeconomic Method model of a decision task Behavioral test Comparison theory/data Mechanisms Neural studies Single-cell recording, Imaging, Hyperscanning, Lesion studies, Neuropsychological patients, Animal models, Computational models
  9. 9. a few examples...
  10. 10. neuro-shopping Knutson, B., Rick, S., Wimmer, G. E., Prelec, D., & Loewenstein, G. (2007). Neural predictors of purchases. Neuron, 53(1), 147-156.
  11. 11. Product Price Choice “mmm... the price is right Chocolate BUY anterior insula < Medial Prefrontal Cortex the price is not right Nucleus DON’T anterior insula > Medial Prefrontal Cortex Accumbens
  12. 12. Risk vs. ambiguity greater activation in response to risk than in response to ambiguity. reward computation greater activation in response to ambiguity than in response to risk. fear/vigileance “Affective forecasting” Hsu, M., Bhatt, M., Adolphs, R., Tranel, D., & Camerer, C. F. (2005). Neural systems responding to degrees of uncertainty in human decision-making. Science, 310(5754), 1680-1683.
  13. 13. Ultimatum Game Proposer $9/$1 $8/$2.... ... ...$1/$9 Responder Accept/reject
  14. 14. ‘unfair’ offers trigger moral disgust and cognitive conflict
  15. 15. the ‘warm glow’ of cooperation
  16. 16. Trust Game 1. x$ 3x$ A. B. x$ x 3= (Y$) (Y$) A. 2. B. (Y-x $) (Y + 3x$)  Z$ 3. A. B. (Y-x)+Z $) (Y + 3x) –Z $)
  17. 17. the ‘sweet taste’ of revenge: Punishment is predicted by activity in the striatum
  18. 18. Cold machines? Humans do not cooperate with computers Human and computer partners do not elicit the same neural-affective reactions
  19. 19. the mechanisms of decision-making
  20. 20. Nomological-Deductive Model explanation prediction Universal Law or Nash Equilibrium lawlike principle Conditions Prisoner’ Dilemma Phenomenon Mutual Defection
  21. 21. Mechanistic model “A mechanism is a structure performing a function in virtue of its component parts, component operations, and their organization. The orchestrated functioning of the mechanism is responsible for one or more phenomena” Bechtel, W., & Abrahamsen, A. (2005). Explanation: A mechanist alternative. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, C:, 36(2), 421-441.
  22. 22. ex: memory mechanisms Craver, C. F. (2002). Interlevel experiments and multilevel mechanisms in the neuroscience of memory. Philosophy of Science, 69, S83–S97.
  23. 23. Trust: Culture, norms, institutions Trust behavior Cognitive heuristics Neural basis Molecular interactions
  24. 24. advantages of mechanistic models: causal entities ‘carve nature at its joints’ better integration with other domains can be simulated by computational neuroscience (partly) immune against pessimism (bounded rationality) and optimism (ecological rationality) “Inferring preferences from a choice does not tell us everything we need to know”(Camerer et al., 2004, p. 563). Camerer, C. F., Loewenstein, G., & Prelec, D. (2004). Neuroeconomics: Why economics needs brains. Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 106(3), 555-579.
  25. 25. Rationality?
  26. 26. maximizing utility as “emotional management”
  27. 27. [Regret forecasting] Counterfactual Utility [regrets] [Affective forecasting] [Regret /rejoicing] Predicted Utility Remembered Experienced Utility Utility [prediction error] Decision [Hedonic affect] Utility [Valuation] 27
  28. 28. Irrationality?
  29. 29. Miswanting: misevaluating future experienced. utility Misprediction of regret ‘irrational pursuit’: Decision utility > Predicted Utility
  30. 30. Thanks ! benoithv@gmail.com http://decisis.net   Natural Rationality Blog:  http://naturalrationality.blogspot.com