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Information processing and decision-making: Evidence from the brain sciences and implications for economics


  • Brocas, Isabelle


This article assesses the potential benefits of including findings from neurobiology in economic decision-making models. First, we emphasize that the evidence supports both ‘expected utility-like’ theory and ‘Bayesian-like’ information acquisition theory. Second, we explain that inferences and representations are subject to physiological limitations that affect decision making. We report in particular two ‘mechanical’ models developed in neuroscience to represent neural data and choices. We then propose two economic models that incorporate physiological limitations into an expected utility framework. Interestingly, these two models provide foundations for those developed in neuroscience (which emerge endogenously in our framework) and provide further predictions that can be tested in principle. This allows us to discuss the benefits of bringing together evidence from neuroscience and economic modeling.

Suggested Citation

  • Brocas, Isabelle, 2012. "Information processing and decision-making: Evidence from the brain sciences and implications for economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 292-310.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:83:y:2012:i:3:p:292-310
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.06.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Glimcher, Paul W. & Dorris, Michael C. & Bayer, Hannah M., 2005. "Physiological utility theory and the neuroeconomics of choice," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 213-256, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zakaria Babutsidze, 2012. "If you love it I'll probably hate it : local interaction among consumers of information goods," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2012-24, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    2. Ricardo Alonso & Isabelle Brocas & Juan D. Carrillo, 2014. "Resource Allocation in the Brain," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(2), pages 501-534.
    3. Ennio Bilancini & Leonardo Boncinelli, 2014. "Persuasion with Reference Cues and Elaboration Costs," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 102, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    4. Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D., 2014. "Dual-process theories of decision-making: A selective survey," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 45-54.

    More about this item


    Neurobiology; Decision-making; Economic modeling;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics


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