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Can neuroscience inform economics? Rationality, emotions and preference formation


  • Nuno Martins


The interaction between neuroscience and economics has gained much prominence recently, leading to the emergence of the new and expanding field of neuroeconomics. I will argue that, although there is much insight to be gained from the interaction between neuroscience and economics, the implications of recent developments in neuroscience and neuroeconomics for the deductivist methodology of mainstream economics, and its emphasis on prediction of events, have not been sufficiently addressed. In fact, much research on neuroeconomics has contributed to the formulation of deductivist models aimed at the prediction of events, when the more fruitful use of neuroscience in economics consists rather in the utilisation of its insights for the development of an explanation of social behaviour that moves beyond the mainstream deductivist methodology. The somatic marker hypothesis, developed by Damasio and others working closely with him, will be suggested as an alternative framework for conceptualising the emergence of social behaviour from a neurobiological substrate. Copyright The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Cambridge Political Economy Society. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

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  • Nuno Martins, 2011. "Can neuroscience inform economics? Rationality, emotions and preference formation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(2), pages 251-267.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:35:y:2011:i:2:p:251-267

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    Cited by:

    1. Nuno Ornelas Martins, 2014. "Inequality, Sustainability and Piketty’s Capital," Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) 05, Católica Porto Business School, Universidade Católica Portuguesa.
    2. Michelle Baddeley, 2014. "Rethinking the micro-foundations of macroeconomics: insights from behavioural economics," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 11(1), pages 99-112, April.

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