Physiology and Behavioral Economics

The New Findings from Evolutionary Neuroscience

Authored by: Gerald A. Cory

Handbook of Contemporary Behavioral Economics

Print publication date:  July  2006
Online publication date:  January  2015

Print ISBN: 9780765613028
eBook ISBN: 9781315703879
Adobe ISBN: 9781317469162


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The brain is a physiological organ. That is a fundamental fact of science. The gene-specified neural circuits or architecture constitute that fundamental physiology. And physiologically, the human brain is also a social brain. The emergence of the concept of the social brain, emphasizing both the self-preservational (self-interested) and affectional (other-interested) components necessary to social exchange, has been landmarked by the publication of two recent handbooks—Foundations in Social Neuroscience (Cacioppo et al. 2002) and Handbook of Affective Sciences (Davidson et al. 2003) (see also Cory and Gardner 2002). Earlier but still recent volumes include Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain (Damasio 1994), The Integrative Neurobiology of Affiliation (Carter, Lederhendler, and Kirkpatrick 1997), and Affective Neuroscience (Panksepp 1998). This author’s The Reciprocal Modular Brain in Economics and Politics (1999) and The Consilient Brain: The Bioneurological Basis of Economics, Society, and Politics (2004) represent efforts to tie these new findings graphically, algorithmically, and mathematically to behavioral economics. Recent years have thus brought great advances in detailing the many complex and interrelated pathways of brain’s interactive social circuitry.

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