Indonesia | Economics

Saturday, November 04, 2006

On the origin of preference

This entry comes straight out of this debate in cafesalemba on preferences in economics.

There, Roby posed a simple, but provocative, question: Where do preferences come from? It initiated a series of multi-disciplinary hypotheses on the origin of preference, which I find interesting.

I have suggested Roby to re-start this discussion in his blog, but he hasn't yet. So, let me.

Here are some of the exchanges that have started there (I have only clipped comments relevant to this question on the origin of preference):

roby said...
I know this is a simple-minded question, but I'm wondering how you guys would answer it

where are these preferences coming from?

Aco said...
Roby, you mean the information about his preference? From observation, or by asking him directly. Please see this again. We get information either via revealed preference (RP) or stated preference (SP).

roby said...
no - i mean how come, say, i have the preference for apples not oranges? why do i prefer indonesian food?

in short, it's not about how observers know the preferences of individual, but about how the individuals themselves acquire preferences in the first place.

Arya (that's me!) said...
Roby,
Economics can't answer your question about the origin of preferences. I think you should ask evolutionary biologists for that.

roby said...
arya - that questions is one of the reasons i dropped out from the econ program (i just realized i have that mas-collel book, we used that book when i took the micro class here years ago). i think the answer to that question is less related to the brain than to the social structure. but that's another issue.

Aco said...
Roby, Arya's right. I can't answer your question. Sorry. (But if it were an exam, I would have written this on my paper for a partial credit: preference comes from the fact that choices are constrained)

treespotter said...
and well, roby, preferences come from needs. very simple.

roby said...
treespotter - your explanation is ok. however, it is still problematic. first, i don't think it can explain (in non-trivial way) the variation in preferences. i need to eat, and i prefer pempek. so you still need to explain why pempek, not ketoprak. of course you can say you need pempek, but i don't really know what that means.
so it's not clear how need translates to preferences

on the other hand, the need explanation has a stint of functionality argument which is problematic because of its post-factum nature; you can explain anything away by need, so it's not really helpful.

i tend to aggree with aco, preference arises from constraint. or, in my lingo, structure; although structure can enable *and* constraint.

Arya said...
Roby,
Also, we should take up this topic on the origin of preferences in your blog (BTW, which one is it? It seems, you keep changing it). Yeah, you're right, I should have added "sociologists" on people to ask on it. ;-)

tirta said...
roby - preferences come from the brain, from the interaction of complex neural networks yet to be discovered. put simply, from neuroscience. structures or constraints are fine, but bear in mind that it is people who often 'choose' their structure and constraints, so the social explanation is indeed a tautology.

Everyone not involved in the original discussion, feel free to join in. I do wish we have evolutionary biologists (or psychologists) here ― so, if any of you know any who might be interested, perhaps invite him or her to join as well.

Update (11/6): In the comments, Roby mentioned a Pepsi-vs-Coke neurological study. Tirta kindly provided me with this link to the study.

28 Comments:

  • i want to wait until i have time for more complete discussion, but i can't help. i think tirta is wrong in this case.

    the fact that i prefer speak indonesian is nothing to do with the brain. it is simply because i grew up in indonesia. say the ability to speak a language is embedded in my brain, but then social structure determines which language that I picked up.

    and why i write in english now, not because my brain told me so; it simply because this is an english blog so i just conform to the existing norm.

    another example, say i have the propensity for diabetes (physical-genetic). but that propensity can only manifest in the right social structure e.g., a society with food abundance.

    on the contrary, the neuroscience explanation is dubious, i'm sure you're familiar with the critique of the MRI study about coke and pepsi. it's not clear at all whether we are happy because the neuron X lights up, or we are happy then the neuron X lights up.

    By Anonymous roby, at 11/04/2006 07:17:00 pm  

  • roby,

    first, by neuroscience i didn't mean nature per se. i think it's quite clear these days that it has to be nature via nurture, so let's move on from the endless and fruitless debate of nature vs nurture.

    second, by neuroscience i mean the dazzlingly complex interactions of your thoughts, memories, experience, emotions, desires, and so forth -- all resides somewhere sometime in the brain due to your previous and present interactions with yourself, others and environments. i argued that they are the building blocks of your preferences.

    third, re language: how do you explain other people, like you, who grew up in indonesia, went overseas for only sometime, but then prefer to speak english?

    last, your reading of the coke vs pepsi study and your objection about the causality is wrong. sure fmri studies can't address causal explanations, for they can only rule out some relations based on what we know about the modular functions of the brain. but there's a complementary technique called single-cell recording -- where you stick a microelectrode into a given brain area, and record the activity of only a bunch of cells there. due to ethical reasons of its invasive nature, this can only be applied to monkeys.

    single-cell can tell you which neuron is responsible for which behaviour. for example when the monkey sees a stimulus on the screen, say a vertical line, neuron A fires. when it's horizontal line, neuron B fires. now, what is interesting is that you can then stimulate the neuron without any stimulus at all, that is, you 'fire' neuron A with nothing on the screen, and see how the monkey reacts. and people have found that the monkey will report (he's been trained, of course) that he sees a vertical line. this, i believe, is causal, not correlational.

    visual neuroscience, to date, is the best understood of all neurosciences. but i have no doubt that we'll get to the neuroscience of preference someday, and that's why i argue that preferences have to reside somewhere in the brain.

    By Anonymous tirta, at 11/04/2006 08:35:00 pm  

  • tirta - say there is no restriction on research. do you really believe that you can stimulate a neuron and the person suddenly says "will you marry me?" (in mandarin, say).

    there is a huge gap between interpreting lines and complex decisions such as what do you want to do with your life, which grad school you want to go, whom you will be married to, which religion to choose etc.

    i don't understand your point about language.

    well, if it includes experiences, thougths and so on then it is obvious social structure matters.

    By Anonymous roby, at 11/04/2006 09:41:00 pm  

  • roby,

    "say there is no restriction on research. do you really believe that you can stimulate a neuron and the person suddenly says "will you marry me?" (in mandarin, say)."

    in principle, if we have the appropriate knowledge, i dare to say yes. not a single neuron, of course (even object perception, say you recognising a dog, is amazingly complex and involves perhaps millions of neurons), but a great number of them and their interactions.

    "there is a huge gap between interpreting lines and complex decisions such as ..."

    sure. that's why there are 1 million-million neurons in the brain, each with connections to thousands of others. but why not? we start with visual perception, which is the easiest and most straightforward, but eventually will reach others: memories, thoughts, decisions, and preferences, sooner or later.

    it seems that you think when it comes to interpreting lines, it's the brain, but when it comes to marriage, it's social structure. i find this distinction a bit absurd.

    --

    here's my assumption: what are we, if not mere collections of neurons? now, if you agree and don't believe in any kind of 'soul': social structures are indeed important, but they manifest themselves somewhere in our brain, and thus interact with previous manifestations. therefore it is there, in the brain, that we should look for explanations.

    By Anonymous tirta, at 11/04/2006 10:15:00 pm  

  • i’m neither a neurobiologist nor a psychologist; i’m an architect by training, so read my comments with grain of salts (lots of it!). i’ve read about learning styles and productivity environmental preference survey (PEPS), developed by dunn, dunn & price. learning styles are categorized into five elements of preferences: physiological, sociological, psychological, emotional, and environmental. see here.

    in a video-taped lecture i watched by caroline brunner (professor at international center for creative studies at SUNY buffalo) about PEPS, she mentioned a research in which preferences of husband and wife are often the opposite (e.g. the preference for warm or cool temperature). a show in either national geographic or discovery (sorry, i can’t remember which episode either) about the attraction between male – female apparently has to do with smell (we look for a mate that will compensate for what we are lacking in hormonally). so hormons may have something to do with preferences.

    some preferences seem to be genetic in nature. in the research brunner mentioned, first-borns often follow either the mother’s or the father’s preferences. the second-borns are often the complete opposite of first-borns, while the third-borns are the wild cards. unfortunately i don’t know which research she was describing. another study on multiple intelligences by howard gardner (professor at harvard graduate school of education), also indicate that preferences for learning seem to correlate with the nature of our intelligences, but like tirta said, it doesn’t mean we can’t nurture them.

    By Blogger Dewi Susanti, at 11/05/2006 02:52:00 am  

  • For those with access to the AER, this paper will shed some light on tastes / preferences.

    Stigler and Becker (1977), 'De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum', 76-90. American Economic Review, 67.

    I last read it 2 years ago, and can't quite remember the details (infuriatingly) so would rather not comment at the risk of getting it horribly wrong.

    Terrible memory :)

    By Blogger John, at 11/05/2006 06:04:00 am  

  • stigler and becker say, basically, efforts to explain the origin of preferences leads to ad hoc explanations. so economists are better off starting with preferences and try to explain how people pursue their goals.

    sociologists: let's open the black box. and you shall find meaning, culture and social structure as of great importance.

    (naive) neuroscientists: brain, brain, brain.
    e.g., there are differences in voting preferences across different countries. why? because they have different brains. ouch. :D

    question: what do we gain by opening the black box? maybe economists are right, we don't need to open the black box. or maybe sociologists have something important to say that will lead us to better understanding.

    By Anonymous roby, at 11/05/2006 10:07:00 am  

  • neuroscience, at least my version, doesn't claim full explanations of everything. i've made it clear the social structures are important; it's just that the complex interactions, i argued, have to happen somewhere in the brain, and so recent advances in neuroscience have a lot to say (i don't think there's any paper around about brain differences and voting preferences across countries).

    it seems that naive (sociologists) think they can explain everything by meaning, culture, and social structure. going back to the original issue, is there any social explanation on why i prefer orange than apple?

    By Anonymous tirta, at 11/05/2006 01:09:00 pm  

  • hi all, i'm late again. i also been meaning to take up on this subject but well, we can start taking it around.

    i still maintain that preferences come from need - this is the most plausible theory at the moment.

    when it deals with the simpler basic needs, it's very easy to arrive at this conclusion, but as Roby pointed out (and also in my original comment on rationality), the problems arise when it tries to deal with bigger things. or other things (eg. why i prefer U2 to Bon Jovi).

    but still, roby, you're seeing needs from a narrow economics perspective, maybe you need to expand the definition a little bit.

    granted, lots of neuroscience findings are still debatable, but most of its basic premises are there. For a very good intro, Richard Dawkins Selfish Gene would be a very good read to tackle this.

    you can define needs in many ways, peer pressure (social needs to conform), genetical (sensitivity to certain basic substances), genes also define physical attributes and thus in a way shaping us to be more receptive towards certain things more than others (eg. a color blind guy would be attracted to certain colours, as color blind is not exactly an absolut defect - it can happen in degrees - it will shape your preference in clothing with certain colours). Lots of gene theory coupled with evolutionary biologist would also point out this shapes us in many ways to identify best possible partners for offsprings etc.

    spiritual/subconscious needs (taking it out from the gene factor), we all need certain output to channel/interact with our social presence. Jungian/Freudian psychology deals a lot with these. This later leads to certain sensitivities for the most optimal output (visual needs translate to visual arts, musics, etc.).

    many experiments in cognitive behavioural psyhcology shows that one's psyche is very susceptible to outside persuasion, you can shape needs by triggering certain things (even memories, but that's another matter).

    in philosophy/theology, sufism/agnosticism in both Islam/Catholiscism argue that our most basic need drives us on a spiritual path to perfection - the need here is the need for perfection. Thus the word 'Platonic'.

    preferences is quite simple details, variables of needs.

    that's why it's not always rational.

    i hope that makes sense :D

    By Blogger ace, at 11/06/2006 02:17:00 am  

  • do you really believe that you can stimulate a neuron and the person suddenly says "will you marry me?" (in mandarin, say).

    yes, roby to your question to tirta: lots of experiment done in cognitive behavioural psychology will give you a very definite yes.

    and recently, lots and lots of bioneural scientists would also agree. enthusiastically.

    By Blogger ace, at 11/06/2006 02:19:00 am  

  • ace,

    i'm a bit unclear with your need-based explanation. how do you explain preference for orange than apple (or u2 than bon jovi, in your case), by postulating needs? and how would you test your hypothesis?

    from the neuroscience point of view, certain fruits (say orange) or bands (say u2) are coded in stronger connections of neural networks at corresponding brain areas. you can test this by peeking into the brain and see how the neurons react when you think of orange and u2, as opposed to apple and bon jovi (see the coke vs pepsi study, for example).

    By Anonymous tirta, at 11/06/2006 06:50:00 pm  

  • i hate the reductionism in neuroscience, but really if you insist, then everything is really chemical/neuro reaction, and thus needs is just the final observation as such. you can phrase it that the 'we genetically inclined towards U2 more than others'

    problem with working (and the approach) of bioscience is everything is reduced to chemical reaction, we don't need to eat, the body demand protein to function, so it's similar. brain cells need sleep. sensors react to loud noise, etc.

    By Blogger ace, at 11/07/2006 01:22:00 am  

  • Roby,
    really tough question. You're right that economists, perhaps, do not pay much attention in finding the source of preference.

    But i'm not really sure that sociology reveals something new and interesting regarding preference..Well how can we explain that Robinson Crusoe still has preference? Well it may be because he was influenced by the culture before he came to a remote island.

    But if social structure and culture really influence preference, how can we explain that social structure and culture are always not stable-i mean, we see that culture and social structure are always changing...so who change them? and how?

    Moreover, if i'm not mistaken, Anthony Giddens is a sociologist who believes that individuals may reproduce culture.I think, to some extent, individual do have preference which may steril from external factor..but the question remains...where is it from? he..he. i don't know :D.

    Here, i think, economics and sociology may never meet together. Economics methodology is "individual methodology" which is completely different from sociology.

    It seems that i don't (cannot) answer arya's posting...he..he.h.e sorry :D

    By Anonymous yudo, at 11/07/2006 02:42:00 am  

  • ace,

    there's no such gene that predisposes you to u2, of course. note that neuroscience doesn't equal genetics determinism or reductionism whatsoever. neuroscience doesn't really care about the gene, actually, it only says that you'll better find social structures in the interactions of neural networks (nature via nurture that i alluded before).

    it's not reductionism at all. surely the influence for u2 has to be social (perhaps you say you find bono's voice to be sexy). what neuroscience has to offer is a testable hypothesis for your social explanation, ask you to listen to a u2 song and a bonjovi song, and see whether there's a difference in the brain areas that counts for sexiness (this is a very crude example, but i hope you get the idea). and do the same for other possible, testable hypotheses.

    as to why you find bono sexy in the first place is perhaps beyond reach, like yudo said. but with neuroscience, i think, one can disprove several hypotheses and more forward a bit rather than just saying that everything is social without having an empirical mean to test it.

    By Anonymous tirta, at 11/07/2006 04:48:00 am  

  • yudo - just a methodological note. you said that the difficulty is in methodology. yes, although there are some exceptions.

    i'm not the right person to talk about meaning and culture (i haven't read giddens). but, in term of social structure, i know there're serious efforts.

    the most ambitious work comes from harrison white in his book 'markets from networks'. the book is not so easy to decipher, unfortunately, and it includes many facets of economics theory.

    for example, he creates a hybrid cobb-douglas function such that players in one market pay attention to other markets. e.g., in his discussion on spence's signaling theory, white discusses how labor market is related to production market. indentity is very important in his model.

    just to give you an idea that serious work bordering economics and sociology is not impossible.

    btw, i just created a blog. it's still empty, but i will use it to discuss things related to modeling in social science :)

    By Anonymous roby, at 11/07/2006 07:15:00 am  

  • to all.

    i'm not saying preferences are irrelevant.

    i can accept that people have preferences and use rational means to achieve their goals.

    my point is that preferences and the rational calculations, do not happen in vacuum. economic actions are 'embedded' in social relations.

    By Anonymous roby, at 11/07/2006 09:22:00 am  

  • oh crap, i'm not sure i got it right, but really, i wasn't proposing that we're genetically inclined for U2. seriously, no.

    i'll take this up another time.

    neuroscience shows we're predisposed to outside stimuli. be it certain kind of protein (food), hormones (emotions), or music (of any kind).

    to reduce everything into neuroscience, then we're reducing needs into a chemical reaction.

    This is later translated as preference.

    Not that i'm agreeing with this approach, but at least that's how biologists explain this. i'm much more interested in the social approach, which i will do some other time.

    By Blogger ace, at 11/08/2006 12:58:00 am  

  • we might not really care about the origin of preference. because at the end there is only one domination matters.

    i recommend you to just try to look the side that every individuals will give up his preference to one that is (already) perfect for everyone.

    i can say here as one state of mind with no preference.

    please think, if you choose or like one thing over other things, there is no preference in this case. because, you were already set in the first place.

    By Blogger Nina, at 11/08/2006 03:04:00 am  

  • Roby,
    Thanks for your info. I got the book(Harrison White's book--Markets from the networks). I just borrowed today and…wow :D... But anw there is a clear distinction between markets of which standard economics defines and White argues.

    Markets, commonly, are considered interaction between buyers and producers (using White’s words “social construction”).White argues that “markets are mobilizers of production in networks of continuing flows” (Harrison White, Market from the networks 2002 p.1).

    In economics, White’s definition of market is close to (similar to) the concept of agglomeration in industry. This is just my first impression about the book.

    As usual, don’t judge a book from its cover and “the first page of its introduction”.

    Sorry this is out of context from preference debate. but this book is really interesting, though it’s hard to grasp :D.

    By Anonymous yudo, at 11/09/2006 05:39:00 am  

  • yudo - that's exactly the point. Can you really isolate a buyer from a seller? A buyer is a seller too, and a seller is a buyer too. market actors pay attention to several markets at once.

    By Anonymous roby, at 11/09/2006 12:19:00 pm  

  • I'm not a psychologist but I hope my little training in (evolutionary) psychology can mean something. My reply is here: http://nothing-about-everything.blogspot.com/2006/11/origin-of-preference.html.

    By Blogger Amitz Sekali, at 11/14/2006 07:37:00 am  

  • as a refence. for psychological perspective on the origin of preference, see this book:

    The origin of preference

    By Anonymous roby, at 11/28/2006 04:58:00 pm  

  • hi there .. i'm new here ... im interested in this remark : "what are we, if not mere collections of neurons?"

    what's that suppsd to mean? does it mean human behaviour i.e. preference is merely a product of neurons? but do we really understand how neurons work? does it suggest that neurons work only in a mechanistic way or maybe chemical way? this reminds us of behaviourism (pavlov and skinner).

    but think about this : is it possible to consciously prefer something that we have no knowledge of?

    dont we all always prefer something that we already know? if we ever make a decision upon something that we dont know about that would be an uninformed, unintelligent decision. it's a speculation.

    also, dont we also always prefer something that is within our reach? something that we think is possible to do or to realise in our lives.

    in other words, preference is not something out there that is floating above our world of existence. brain may have something to do with it because it is the instrument through which we make the decision. but it's not the main actor.

    so what exactly this "we" that make the decision. thats another discussion. the question about who we are is the question of all questions.

    By Blogger reslian, at 12/03/2006 07:33:00 am  

  • reslian,

    "im interested in this remark : "what are we, if not mere collections of neurons?"what's that suppsd to mean? does it mean human behaviour i.e. preference is merely a product of neurons?"

    nope, you've misunderstood me. i argue that preference is a result of a complex interactions of an individual with her natural as well as social environment. what i mean by saying that we are collections of neurons is that we should look for those complex interactions in the brain.

    "but do we really understand how neurons work?"

    to some extent yes, especially the ones responsible for vision and perception (which happens to significantly overlap with my area of research).

    "does it suggest that neurons work only in a mechanistic way or maybe chemical way? this reminds us of behaviourism (pavlov and skinner)"

    i'm afraid you have to consult theoretical and computational neuroscience texts on this.

    but think about this : is it possible to consciously prefer something that we have no knowledge of? dont we all always prefer something that we already know?

    no, and social psychology has a lot to say about this. in the words of the psychologist tim wilson: we know a lot less than we think we know (my rephrase of this would be 'we make up things, often'). you can google the works of, among others, john bargh, daniel gilbert, and tim wilson -- and do read the classic paper by bob zajonc "preferences need no inferences". there's a huge literature of implicit cognition out there.

    "so what exactly this "we" that make the decision. thats another discussion. the question about who we are is the question of all questions."

    agree, and philosophy of self surely have a lot of musings on this. but some psychologists and neuroscientists have been experimentally studying this too. in particular, i would recommend browsing the webpage of daniel wegner on free-will and the speculations of vilyanur ramachandran (somewhere in the last chapters of his book 'the phantoms in the brain', and perhaps in his bbc reith lecture 2003 which is available online).

    By Anonymous tirta, at 12/03/2006 04:20:00 pm  

  • reslian (and others too),

    just remembered about this classic 1977 social psych paper by dick nisbett and tim wilson entitled 'telling more than we can know', which experimentally illustrates how preference may lie beyond one's conscious introspection. quite a long one, but worth reading, as it has been cited more than 2,500 times.

    here's the link: http://www.people.virginia.edu/~tdw/publications.htm

    it's the most bottom one.

    By Anonymous tirta, at 12/03/2006 07:23:00 pm  

  • dear tirta,

    "what i mean by saying that we are collections of neurons is that we should look for those complex interactions in the brain."

    but when we look into the brain ... what will we find but those chemical, physical interactions? understanding how brain works does not by any means provide us with a thorough, clear, distinct comprehension about our being (including our behaviour). ah ya, also perhaps you forgot that brain is not the same with mind.

    you may observe how brain works but could you do the same to mind? well, maybe not until we overcome the current framework of science.

    i'm not against the argument that says our behaviour can be somehow explained by the way our brain works. but it's like explaining what is happening with our hearts, our eyes (the physical reactions)when we are crying over the loss of the loved ones. but can those physical reactions explain why we cry or why we feel sad?

    to reduce human being to the "complex interactions in the brain" is, imho, reducing human being as the product of causal relationship as suggested by the behaviourism.

    By Blogger reslian, at 12/04/2006 07:09:00 am  

  • reslian,

    "ah ya, also perhaps you forgot that brain is not the same with mind."

    surely not, i'm a psychologist, not a neurophysiologist =)

    i just believe the maxim that one is not a psychologist that is not a neurophysiologist. the brain does restrict what the mind can and cannot do (i.e. structure defines function). i think most, not all, of our behaviours are best understood by reflecting on their neural correlates, especially given the premise 'we know a lot less than we think we do'.

    you're very welcome to disagree. some psychologists think that the mind can be studied independently, and the brain is not too important.

    "it's like explaining what is happening with our hearts, our eyes (the physical reactions)when we are crying over the loss of the loved ones. but can those physical reactions explain why we cry or why we feel sad?"

    nope, in this case crying is best explain by the evolutionary explanation of why we cry instead of laugh when sad.

    "reducing human being as the product of causal relationship as suggested by the behaviourism."

    some people like to defend free will (and humanity, say they) by arguing that the day we can explain free-will in terms of some neural correlates and causations in the brain is the day we're doomed.

    i see no reason why. even if free will is some kind of a cognitive illusion, we have to believe in it, don't we? our being and the whole history of human civilisation are such that free will is analog to voltaire: if it doesn't exist, god has to invent one.

    now if some crazy brain-maniacs want to apply this causal knowledge of free will to their everyday life, i don't see how that's possible. stop believing in your own free-will and start saying 'hey, i'm just a behavioural robot' is paradoxical, since the 'declaring' itself is 'free', no?

    ---

    forgive me for talking too much here, but here's one last thing about your usage of the term 'reduce/reductionism'. roby, the physicist turned sociologist who started this discussion, asked me why not 'reduce' the mind further to the behaviour of atoms instead of stopping at neurons. that is, reduce explanation to the lowest level of the science hierarchy (the physics of atoms).

    my answer was a pragmatic one: why bother? there are several levels of explanations for everything (like your example of crying, which can be explained with either the loss of loved ones, the physiological reactions of wetting the eye, the evolutionary argument of why cry when sad, and so forth). our task is to pick the most appropriate.

    in my area of research, i'd say that neurons are 'the atoms' of perception. understanding how neurons behave may tell us much about why we see things that aren't there and don't see things that are there (you might want to google 'visual illusion'). now this may or may not apply to preference, we don't know yet, but i hope you can see where i'm coming from.

    By Anonymous tirta, at 12/04/2006 01:00:00 pm  

  • Hallo Arya, sorry I did not keep up with the discussions on preferences here.

    On the difficulties of interdisciplinary cooperation, I would suggest Moral Sentiments and material interest - the Foundations of cooperation in economic life, by behavioral economists and anthropologists, ie, Herb Gintis, Sam Bowles, Robert Boyd and Ernst Fehr (2005). Relatively accessible, this one might shed some interdisciplinary lights on the matter of (cooperative) preferences, especially their origins, evidences, and consequences.

    Simple heuristics that make us smart by Gigerenzer, Todd and the interdisciplinary resarch group called Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC), 1999, documents some of the developments on rationality from various fields including psychology, mathematics, computer science, evolutionary biology and for sure economics.

    So serious and rigorous cros-disciplinary research have been obviously on the way. These literatures - might - serve as departing points or perhaps complementary to the discussion.

    By Anonymous Sonny, at 1/11/2008 01:32:00 am  

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