Resource Allocation in the Brain
When an individual performs several tasks simultaneously, resources must be allocated to different brain systems to produce energy for neurons to fire. Following the evidence from neuroscience, we model the brain as an organization in which a coordinator allocates limited resources to the brain systems responsible for the different tasks. Systems are privately informed about the amount of resources necessary to perform their task and compete to obtain the resources. The coordinator arbitrates the demands while satisfying the resource constraint. We show that the optimal mechanism is to impose to each system with privately known needs a cap in resources that depends negatively on the amount of resources requested by the other system. This allocation can be implemented using a physiologically plausible mechanism. Finally, we provide some implications of our theory: (i) performance is inversely related to the difficulty of the task and can be flawless for sufficiently simple tasks, (ii) the dynamic allocation rule exhibits inertia (current allocations are increasing in past needs), and (iii) different cognitive tasks are performed by different systems only if the tasks are sufficiently important.
|Date of creation:||Jun 2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.|
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
|Order Information:|| Email: |
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414.
- Arthur J. Robson & Larry Samuelson, 2009.
"The Evolution of Time Preference with Aggregate Uncertainty,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(5), pages 1925-53, December.
- Arthur J. Robson & Larry Samuelson, 2009. "The Evolution of Time Preference with Aggregate Uncertainty," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000087, David K. Levine.
- Ricardo Alonso & Niko Matouschek, 2007.
RAND Journal of Economics,
RAND Corporation, vol. 38(4), pages 1070-1089, December.
- Martimort, David & Semenov, Aggey, 2008.
"The informational effects of competition and collusion in legislative politics,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1541-1563, July.
- Martimort, David & Semenov, Aggey, 2008. "The Informational Effects of Competition and Collusion in Legislative Politics," MPRA Paper 6989, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- John Geanakoplos & Paul R. Milgrom, 1988.
"A Theory of Hierarchies Based on Limited Managerial Attention,"
Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers
775R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
- Geanakoplos, John & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "A theory of hierarchies based on limited managerial attention," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 205-225, September.
- Arthur J. Robson, 2001. "Why Would Nature Give Individuals Utility Functions?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 900-929, August.
- Arthur J. Robson, 2001. "The Biological Basis of Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(1), pages 11-33, March.
- Barbera, Salvador & Jackson, Matthew O. & Neme, Alejandro, 1997.
"Strategy-Proof Allotment Rules,"
Games and Economic Behavior,
Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 1-21, January.
- 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.
- Ricardo Alonso & Niko Matouschek, 2008.
Review of Economic Studies,
Oxford University Press, vol. 75(1), pages 259-293.
- Frédéric Koessler & David Martimort, 2012.
"Optimal Delegation with Multi-dimensional Decisions,"
PSE - Labex "OSE-Ouvrir la Science Economique"
- Koessler, Frédéric & Martimort, David, 2012. "Optimal delegation with multi-dimensional decisions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1850-1881.
- Brocas, Isabelle & Carrillo, Juan D., 2005. "A theory of haste," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 1-23, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8408. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.