Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

How to Avoid the Temptations of Immediate Gratification

Recent research linked  impulsivity with a lack of future thinking. Want to avoid a temptation? Focus on imagining a concrete, un-fuzzy future with positive attributes instead.  From Scientific American, January 15, 2013:

How to Avoid the Temptations of Immediate Gratification

Neuroscience hints at the power of imagining the future

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January 19, 2013 Posted by | behaviour, brain, neuroeconomics, neuroscience, psychology | , , , , | 1 Comment

The economics of self-control

Buying willpower?  Looks like it can be done…

From Globe and Mail’s Report on Business:

The economics of self-control

There’s no better motivator for reaching a goal than the prospect of losing money if you don’t. And these days, it’s never been easier to outsource your willpower

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September 15, 2010 Posted by | behaviour, economics, neuroeconomics | , | Leave a comment

Is envy, not greed, the root of all evil?

Is our quest to stand out from the crowd, rather than greed, driving our behaviour and the markets?  Makes a lot of sense to me.  From the Globe and Mail, May 27, 2010:

Green from envy

By Timothy Taylor

Gordon Gekko got it wrong: Envy, not greed, is what really matters

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August 20, 2010 Posted by | behaviour, economics, neuroeconomics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Science of Economic Bubbles and Busts

From Scientific American Magazine , June 22, 2009:

The Science of Economic Bubbles and Busts

The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression has prompted a reassessment of how financial markets work and how people make decisions about money

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June 26, 2009 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, economics, neuroeconomics | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neuroeconomics

Neuroeconomics

Do economists need brains?

Jul 24th 2008 | NEW YORK
From The Economist print edition

A new school of economists is controversially turning to neuroscience to improve the dismal science

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July 30, 2008 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, economics, neuroeconomics | | Leave a comment

Dumb tricks your mind plays

Blame it on evolution — we’re not perfect! Some quotes from the article:

“Our brains have evolved to live in the moment…”

“Most pleasure springs from the ancestral, reflexive system…”

“Thinking of the brain’s pleasure system as a kluge…”

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NEUROSCIENCE: A WORK IN PROGRESS
The mind plays tricks – very dumb tricks
A new book argues that evolution is far from perfect: What makes the human brain wonderful also makes it an error-prone mess

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May 16, 2008 Posted by | behaviour, brain, decision making, evolution, evolutionary psychology, neuroeconomics | , | Leave a comment

Irrational about money

Michael Shermer’s blog about money (“Why People Believe Weird Things About Money“) describes how people would choose less money over more as long as the less money is more than someone else would get.  The article also describes how this “irrational” trait has been observed in monkeys too, suggesting that it is a behaviour that evolved pre-humans.  A very worthwhile read.

I found one of the responses (reproduced below) questioning the “irrational” label of this trait, highly entertaining:

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January 24, 2008 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, evolutionary psychology, neuroeconomics, neuroscience | Leave a comment

Monkey, Business

Book review from the New York Times — sounds interesting.

MONKEY, BUSINESS

FOR A BETTER ECONOMY, WE NEED TO FIGHT OUR BETTER INSTINCTS

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January 21, 2008 Posted by | behaviour, economics, evolutionary psychology, neuroeconomics | Leave a comment

Giving it away to “get some”

Charity, like conspicuous consumption, is about attracting the opposite sex. I always thought that being polite, like when gentlemen open doors for ladies, serves the same purpose — “I can afford to help you and STILL be highly successful!”

Here is the story:

http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9581656

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August 2, 2007 Posted by | behaviour, evolutionary psychology, neuroeconomics | Leave a comment

Testosterone driving financial decisions

More on this later on when I have time to comment:
Neuroscience

Money isn’t everything

Jul 5th 2007
From The Economist print edition

Men with a lot of testosterone make curious economic choices

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July 5, 2007 Posted by | neuroeconomics | Leave a comment