Experiment at NYU find neurological underpinnings of economic game theory
In article in todays issue of the journal Neuron, two neuroscientists – Paul Glimcher of New York University and Michael Dorris, a former NYU colleague currently at Queens University, Canada – offer evidence for the neurological basis for the theories of John Nash, the Nobel-winning economist who pioneered game theory. The findings in the Neuron article are a major advancement in the increasingly prominent field of neuroeconomics, which attempts to discover the basis within the brain for the sort of economic decision-making predicted by game theory.
To develop their findings, Glimcher and Dorris used rhesus monkeys to participate in a strategic conflict game known as the "the inspection game" (the game was first developed by the RAND corporation to evaluate the likelihood of Soviet compliance with arms control agreements). In the human version of the game, there are two players, an "employer" and an "employee." The employees goal is to "shirk" as much as possible (for which he receives his wage plus free time), while the employer – who can use an "inspector" to catch the employee – has the goal of spending as little as possible on inspectors while maximizing the employees appearances at work.
James Devitt | EurekAlert!
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