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Lecture 17

ECON 2023 Lecture 17: ECON 8-3
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3 Pages
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Fall 2016

Department
Economics
Course Code
ECON 2023
Professor
Jeff Cooperstein
Lecture
17

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Brain Modularity
Modular
-Specific areas deal w. specific sensations, activities, emotions
-=Modern human brain
-Oldest parts of brain=in back of head
Older parts= Subconscious activities
-Breathing, sweating, automatic emotional reactions
-Newest parts= in front (near forehead)
Newer parts= Conscious control
-Think creatively, imagine future, keep track of everyone in social network
-System 1 & System 2
-Brain’s decision-making systems= 2 categories
System 1
-Use a lot of heuristics in older parts of brain
-Produce quick, unconscious reactions
-E.g.) “gut instinct”
System 2
-Use newer parts of brain
-Undertake slow, deliberate, conscious calculations of costs & benefits
-E.g.) Thinking things over
-Conflicts btw System 1 & 2 sometimes occur
-Unconscious mental processes suffer from variety of cognitive biases
-Cognitive bias
-Misperceptions/ misunderstandings causing systematic errors
-2 categories
(1) Mental-processing errors result from faulty heuristics
-(Faulty heuristics= result of trade off accuracy for speed & efficiency)
(2) Mental-processing errors result from brain not having any evolved capacities
-For dealing w. modern problems & challenges
-Total absence of System 1 for modern problems
-E.g.) Solving calculus problem
-System 2= limited assistance
-Supposed to deal w. other types of problems

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Description
Brain Modularity • Modular - Specific areas deal w. specific sensations, activities, emotions - =Modern human brain - Oldest parts of brain=in back of head • Older parts= Subconscious activities - Breathing, sweating, automatic emotional reactions - Newest parts= in front (near forehead) • Newer parts= Conscious control - Think creatively, imagine future, keep track of everyone in social network - System 1 & System 2 - Brain’s decision-making systems= 2 categories System 1 • - Use a lot of heuristics in older parts of brain - Produce quick, unconscious reactions - E.g.) “gut instinct” • System 2 - Use newer parts of brain - Undertake slow, deliberate, conscious calculations of costs & benefits - E.g.) Thinking things over - Conflicts btw System 1 & 2 sometimes occur - Unconscious mental processes suffer from variety of cognitive biases - Cognitive bias - Misperceptions/ misunderstandings causing systematic errors - 2 categories • (1) Mental-processing errors result from faulty heuristics - (Faulty heuristics= result of trade off accuracy for speed & efficiency) • (2) Mental-processing errors result from brain not having any evolved capacities - For dealing w. modern problems & challenges - Total absence of System 1 for modern problems - E.g.) Solving calculus problem - System 2= limited assistance - Supposed to deal w. other types of problems - Scores of cognitive biases relevant to economics & decision-making Confirmation bias • - Tendency to pay attention only to info agrees w. one’s preconceptions - Info contradicting preconceptions..Ignored/ rationalized away - -> Allow bad decisions to continue long after impartial evidence stop them • Self-serving bias - Tendency to attribute successes to personal effort/ character traits - While at the same time attributing failures to factors that were out of control - Help to preserve people’s self-esteem - BUT difficult to learn from mi
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