Module I: “How the Brain works”
Week 1. Introduction. Introduction to the course, historical overview of the field.
Week 2. Brain anatomy and functions. Introduction to neuroscience, brain anatomy and brain functions. Measuring brain activity: Brain-imaging (EEG, MEG, fMRI), brain stimulation (TMS), cell recording, data visualization, interpretation of the results.
Module II: “How the Brain decides”
Week 3. Introducing brain models of decision making and choice. Neuro-cognitive models of the choice: comparison with formal models of decision making.
Week 4. Neural representation of the subjective value, basal ganglia and choice value.
Week 5. Brain mechanisms of risky choice and ambiguity.
Module III: “How the Brain feels”
Week 6. Economic rationality and emotions. How emotions can prevent or actually promote rational decision making, according to evolutionary psychology.
Week 7. Dual processing. Two systems in the brain: Fast, automatic, emotional processes versus slower, controlled, cognitive processes.
Module IV: “Society of Brains”
Week 8. The social brain. Social perception, empathy, social preferences; theory of mind, inequity, persuasion, conformity.
Week 9. Taking an evolutionary perspective: the ‘economic animal.’ Primate studies of economic behaviour. Animals’ economy - a model of human economy.
The course introduces an interdisciplinary perspective on economic choice behaviour. We are looking for students who want to go the extra mile in understanding decision making from a biological perspective; eager to learn more about how neuroscience can revolutionize economics. The course is relevant for students from economics, business administration, neuroscience, psychology and the social sciences in general.
Although the lectures are designed to be self-contained, we recommend (but do not require) that students refer to the books:
• selected chapters from the Handbook of “Neuroeconomics: Decision Making and the Brain” by Paul Glimcher et al. (2008 or 2013).
• selected chapters from handbooks on anatomy and brain imaging methods
• journal articles in neuroeconomics, selected for their clarity and accessibility
This is a 9-week course. Every week we will release 4 to 6 video lectures, about 10 minutes each, lecture notes and after lecture quizzes. All after lecture quizzes are to be submitted through the courese web site and will be graded automatically. During the course, you will be asked to participate in discussions.
1. Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?
Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.
2. What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?