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Neural Activity Reveals Preferences without Choices

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Listed:
  • Alec Smith
  • B. Douglas Bernheim
  • Colin F. Camerer
  • Antonio Rangel

Abstract

We investigate the feasibility of inferring the choices people would make (if given the opportunity) based on their neural responses to the pertinent prospects when they are not engaged in actual decision making. The ability to make such inferences is of potential value when choice data are unavailable, or limited in ways that render standard methods of estimating choice mappings problematic. We formulate prediction models relating choices to "nonchoice" neural responses, and use them to predict out-of-sample choices for new items and for new groups of individuals. The predictions are sufficiently accurate to establish the feasibility of our approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Alec Smith & B. Douglas Bernheim & Colin F. Camerer & Antonio Rangel, 2014. "Neural Activity Reveals Preferences without Choices," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 1-36, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmic:v:6:y:2014:i:2:p:1-36
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mic.6.2.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan A. Parker & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2017. "Reported Effects vs. Revealed-Preference Estimates: Evidence from the propensity to spend tax rebates," NBER Working Papers 23920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fadong Chen & Urs Fischbacher, 2016. "Response time and click position: cheap indicators of preferences," Journal of the Economic Science Association, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 2(2), pages 109-126, November.
    3. Dimitris Christelis & Dimitris Georgarakos & Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri & Maarten van Rooij, 2017. "Asymmetric Consumption Effects of Transitory Income Shocks," CSEF Working Papers 467, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
    4. repec:eee:jeborg:v:148:y:2018:i:c:p:344-375 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Daniel Serra, 2019. "La neuroéconomie en question : débats et controverses," CEE-M Working Papers halshs-02160911, CEE-M, Universtiy of Montpellier, CNRS, INRA, Montpellier SupAgro.
    6. Lusk, Jayson L. & Crespi, John M. & McFadden, Brandon R. & Cherry, J. Bradley C. & Martin, Laura & Bruce, Amanda, 2016. "Neural antecedents of a random utility model," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 93-103.
    7. Guidon Fenig & Giovanni Gallipoli & Yoram Halevy, 2018. "Piercing the "Payoff Function" Veil: Tracing Beliefs and Motives," Working Papers tecipa-625, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
    8. Krajbich, Ian & Camerer, Colin & Rangel, Antonio, 2017. "Exploring the scope of neurometrically informed mechanism design," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 49-62.
    9. repec:eee:joepsy:v:69:y:2018:i:c:p:61-86 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics

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