Neuroeconomics of limitations of cognitive processing probably where all the action is… “attention” is the byword

From Neuroeconomic theory: Using neuroscience to understand the bounds of rationality by Juan Carrillo and Isabelle Brocas

“… research in neurobiology demonstrates that the brain cannot encode all the information contained in a signal. A decision is triggered when “enough” information supporting one alternative is obtained, and the brain uses a variety of biological mechanisms to filter information in a constrained optimal way. In a recent paper we show that these properties of the brain result in a behavioural tendency to confirm initial priors (Brocas and Carrillo 2009). Behavioural data reports precisely that individuals stick too often to first impressions. These confirmatory biases may all emerge from the same set of physiological information processing constraints. Further work in that direction may help uncover the causes of other biases and determine whether they are all related to the same physiological limitations.”

Does schooling change this (for better or for worse)? Acquiring information via oral sources or via reading? Reading fiction and children’s picture books from an early age?  Has the “twist ending” of the short story and much of modern storytelling (cliffhanger at the end of every chapter-episode) increasingly conditioned people to prioritize disconfirming information rather than confirming information? When we see shows that confirm, confirm, confirm, don’t we say, inside, “boooooring.”

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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