The human brain is a big believer in equality—and a team of scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, has become the first to gather the images to prove it. Specifically, the team found that the reward centers in the human brain respond more strongly when a poor person receives a financial reward than when a rich person does.
Caltech neuroscientists and their colleagues have tied the human aversion to losing money to a specific structure in the brain—the amygdala. The finding, described in the latest online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers insight into economic behavior, and also into the role of the amygdala, which registers rapid emotional reactions and is implicated in depression, anxiety, and autism.
Economists and neuroscientists from Caltech have shown that they can use information obtained through fMRI measurements of whole-brain activity to create feasible, efficient, and fair solutions to one of the stickiest dilemmas in economics, the public goods free-rider problem—long thought to be unsolvable. This is one of the first-ever applications of neurotechnology to real-life economic problems, the researchers note.
When it comes to intellectual curiosity and creativity, a market economy in which inventors can buy and sell shares of the key components of their discoveries actually beats out the winner-takes-all world of patent rights as a motivating force, according to a California Institute of Technology (Caltech)-led team of researchers.
In a strategic game, the success of any player depends not just on his or her own actions, but on the behavior of every other player in the game. To be successful, players must not only pay attention to what other players do, but also how they are thinking.
A rose by any other name might smell as sweet, but slap on a hefty price tag, and our opinion of it might go through the roof. At least that's the case with the taste of wine, say scientists from the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University.
It's been called beachfront property. Wireless companies are clamoring for pieces of it. The auction that will parcel it out will be the biggest of the next decade, with reserve prices set at $10 billion.