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By Jan de Jonge

The wedding of neuroscience and the technology of selection behaviour gave delivery to neuroeconomics. Jan de Jong explores this new self-discipline, investigating the connection among selection behaviour and mind job, and the sunshine that this sheds on our platforms of reasoning.

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It seems evident that an important part of the answer resides in the properties of exchange institutions and in how privately informed but globally poorly informed decision making is mediated by institutions’ (V. L. Smith 1991, 894). A market is a rule-governed institution that ‘aggregates the dispersed asymmetric information, converging more or less rapidly to competitive equilibrium if they exist’ (V. L. Smith 2003, 500) ‘What is imperfectly understood is the precise manner in which institutions serve as social tools that reinforce, even induce, individual rationality’ (V.

In other reactions people have declared their mistrust in expected utility theory. Grether and Plott (1979) constructed a list of possible explanations for the preference reversal phenomenon. When supported by evidence these explanations would show that this phenomenon does not pose a serious challenge to expected utility theory. They suggested, for example, that the incentives were insufficient to get people to behave as they would in real life, or that inconsistencies would have been much less frequent when subjects would have been allowed to say that they were indifferent between the two bets or that the subjects were involved in strategic pricing.

14 However, contrary to Broome, Hampton finds that this will not do, and the reason is that it is not possible to capture as a preference for a consequence a preference that is really for the experiential state that accompanies the occurrence of the consequence. Take the example of compound lotteries, which have lotteries as prizes. In expected utility theory only the ultimate consequences of a lottery matter. It is implicitly assumed that agents do not exhibit an intrinsic attitude toward gambling, that is, toward the activity of gambling in and of itself.

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