IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Neural Substrates of Decision-Making in Economic Games

  • Stanton, Angela A.

In economic experiments decisions often differ from game-theoretic predictions. Why are people generous in one-shot ultimatum games with strangers? Is there a benefit to generosity toward strangers? Research on the neural substrates of decisions suggests that some choices are hormone-dependent. By artificially stimulating subjects with neuroactive hormones, we can identify which hormones and brain regions participate in decisionmaking, to what degree and in what direction. Can a hormone make a person generous while another stingy? In this paper, two laboratory experiments are described using the hormones oxytocin (OT) and arginine vasopressin (AVP). Concentrations of these hormones in the brain continuously change in response to external stimuli. OT enhances trust (Michael Kosfeld et al. 2005b), reduce fear from strangers (C. Sue Carter 1998), and has anti-anxiety effects (Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg, Maria Peterson 2005). AVP enhances attachment and bonding with kin in monogamous male mammals (Jennifer N. Ferguson et al. 2002) and increases reactive aggression (C. Sue Carter 2007). Dysfunctions of OT and/or AVP reception have been associated with autism (Miranda M. Lim et al. 2005). In Chapter One I review past experiments with the ultimatum (UG) and dictator (DG) games and visit some of the major results in the literature. In Chapter Two I present the results of my laboratory experiment where I examine why people are generous in one-shot economic games with strangers. I hypothesize that oxytocin would enhance generosity in the UG. Players in the OT group were much more generous than those in the placebo—OT offers in the UG were 80% higher than offers on placebo. Enhanced generosity was not due to altruism as there was no effect on DG offers. This implies that other-regarding preferences are at play in the amount of money sent but only in a reciprocal context. The third chapter presents an experiment on punishment. I hypothesized that AVP would increase rejections and stinginess in the UG and TG. Results show that AVP affects rejections and stinginess in small groups but not in large ones. Chapter Four contains the summary of future research suggestions.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/4030/1/MPRA_paper_4030.pdf
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 4030.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 12 May 2007
Date of revision: 10 Jun 2007
Publication status: Published in Journal of Dissertation Issue 1.Volume(2007): pp. 1-63
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4030
Contact details of provider: Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:4030. 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: (Ekkehart Schlicht)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.