Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


Recent neuroeconomics/neuroethics studies

First, in Cerebral Cortex, a lesion study suggesting that the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex (VMF) in involved both in decisions under uncertainty and those that are not; moreover, "Subjects with VMF damage were significantly more inconsistent in their preferences than controls, whereas those with frontal damage that spared the VMF performed normally". In:

The Role of Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex in Decision Making: Judgment under Uncertainty or Judgment Per Se? Fellows, L. K., & Farah, M. J. (2007). Cerebral Cortex, 17(11), 2669-2674.

Second, a study on norm compliance: subjects are fairer in Dictator games when third-party punishment is possible; Spitzer et al. identified the brain areas involved in this norm-compliant behavior (the lateral orbitofrontal cortex--correlated with Machiavellian personality characteristics--and right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex). In:

The Neural Signature of Social Norm Compliance Manfred Spitzer, Urs Fischbacher, Bärbel Herrnberger, Georg Grön and Ernst Fehr
Volume 56, Issue 1, 4 October 2007, Pages 185-196

See a review in ScienceNOW, and a mini-review on norm violation with a neuro-computational twist:

To Detect and Correct: Norm Violations and Their Enforcement, P. Read Montague and Terry Lohrenz, Neuron, Volume 56, Issue 1, 4 October 2007, Pages 14-18.

Related to that, a suggested reading:

Sripada & Stich analyse the structure of norms in social context and how it relate to cognitive processing.