Do neurobiological data help us to understand economic decisions better?

Journal of Economic Methodology 17 (2):207-218 (2010)
The contribution that neurobiological data provide us to comprehend the psychological aspects of economic decision-making is critically examined. First, different kinds of correspondences between neural events and mental activities are identified. On the basis of the distinctions made, some recent studies are selected, each of which focuses on a different stage of decision-making and employs a different set of neurobiological data. The thorough analysis of each study suggests that neuro-mental correspondences do not have an evidentiary function but rather a heuristic function, since they can point to the presence of specific differences between phenomena considered homogeneous or to the existence of a relationship between two mental activities which, however, have to be tested by psychological investigations.
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