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Regular version of the site

Introduction to Neuroeconomics: How the Brain Makes Decisions

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered at:
Institute of Media
Course type:
Elective course
1 year, 4 module


Course Syllabus


Economics, psychology, and neuroscience are converging today into a unified discipline of Neuroeconomics with the ultimate aim of creating a single, general theory of human decision-making. Neuroeconomics provides biologists, economists, psychologists and social scientists with a deeper understanding of how they make their own decisions and how others decide. Neuroscience, when allied with psychology and economics, creates powerful new models to explain why we make decisions. Neurobiological mechanisms of decision-making, decisions under risk, trust and cooperation will be central issues in this course. You will be provided with the most recent evidence from brain-imaging techniques (fMRI, TMS, etc.) and introduced to the explanatory models behind them. The course does not require any prior study of economics and neuroscience; however, it might require you to study novel interdisciplinary materials. The course provides an introduction to the methodology, assumptions, and main findings of Neuroeconomics. Our students have different backgrounds; therefore, I have adapted and simplified the course to allow all students to understand the interdisciplinary content. This course will help you to start your progress in the field of Neuroeconomics and to further develop your skills during other more advanced courses and trainings in the future. For some topics, the course will also provide supplementary videos to reveal the opinions of leading experts in the field. Each module provides optional reading
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To familiarize how neuroscience, in conjunction with psychology and Economics, creates powerful new models that explain why we make decisions.
  • To familiarize the neurobiological mechanisms of decision - making, risk-taking, trust and collaboration.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Names main features of the Diffusion Model.
  • Names terminology and experimental methods of Neuroeconomics.
  • Reads and understands results of Neuroeconomics papers.
  • Understands the role of emotion in decision-making and to introduce theories and basic findings of Neuroeconomics in this context.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction to the Course
  • Introduction and Scope of Neuroeconomics
  • Neuroanatomy, Neurophysiology, and Neuroimaging: Tools of Neuroeconomics
  • Introducing Brain Models of Decision-Making and Choice
  • Neural Representation of Subjective Value
  • Affective Mechanisms of Decision-Making
  • Dual Process Theory of Decision-Making: Toward a Neuroeconomics Perspective
  • Decision-Making under Risk: Toward a Neuroeconomics Mechanism
  • The Social Brain: Games in the Brain
  • Evolutionary Perspective of Decision-Making
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Test. Introduction and Scope of Neuroeconomics
  • non-blocking Paper. Do people have Free Will...?
  • non-blocking Test. Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology
  • non-blocking Test. Decision-Making
  • non-blocking Paper. Critical review: Diffusion model
  • non-blocking Test. The Nucleus Accumbens
  • non-blocking Test. Emotional Stimuli
  • non-blocking Test. The dark side of emotion in decision-making
  • non-blocking Test. Valuation System
  • non-blocking Test. Risk
  • non-blocking Paper. Ethical limitations in Neuroeconomics
  • non-blocking Paper. Neuroeconomics, Game Theory and decision-making in groups
  • non-blocking Test. Cooperation
  • non-blocking Essay. Biological mechanisms of decisions: The role of testosterone in decision-making
  • non-blocking Final Exam
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2021/2022 4th module
    0.04 * Paper. Do people have Free Will...? + 0.08 * Paper. Neuroeconomics, Game Theory and decision-making in groups + 0.04 * Paper. Critical review: Diffusion model + 0.04 * Test. Introduction and Scope of Neuroeconomics + 0.08 * Test. Valuation System + 0.04 * Test. The dark side of emotion in decision-making + 0.28 * Final Exam + 0.04 * Paper. Ethical limitations in Neuroeconomics + 0.04 * Test. Risk + 0.04 * Test. Emotional Stimuli + 0.08 * Test. The Nucleus Accumbens + 0.08 * Test. Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology + 0.04 * Test. Decision-Making + 0.04 * Essay. Biological mechanisms of decisions: The role of testosterone in decision-making + 0.04 * Test. Cooperation


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bonanno, G., List, C., Tungodden, B., & Vallentyne, P. (2008). Introduction To The Special Issue Of Economics And Philosophy On Neuroeconomics. Economics and Philosophy, (03), 301. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.ecnphi.v24y2008i03p301.302.00
  • McCabe, K., & Houser, D. (2008). Neuroeconomics. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=283962
  • Paul W. Glimcher, & Ernst Fehr. (2014). Neuroeconomics : Decision Making and the Brain (Vol. 2nd edition). Amsterdam: Academic Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=486337

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Daniel Serra. (2019). Neuroeconomics and modern neuroscience. CEE-M Working Papers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.p.hal.wpceem.halshs.02160907
  • Politser, P. E. (2008). Neuroeconomics : A Guide to the New Science of Making Choices. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=218094