Neuroaccounting, Part I: The Primate Brain and Reciprocal Exchange
John W. Dickhaut
Chapman University (Deceased)
Temple University - Department of Accounting
Kevin A. McCabe
George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University School of Law
Gregory B. Waymire
Emory University - Department of Accounting
January 30, 2009
We develop the hypothesis that culturally evolved accounting principles (e.g., Objectivity) have their roots in how the biologically evolved human brain evaluates the desirability of reciprocal exchange. Our analysis is communicated in two related parts. In this first essay, Part I, we provide background on the structure and evolution of the brain, the measurement of brain activity during economic decision-making using neuroscientific methods, and the brain's central role in building economic institutions. In the second essay, Part II, we describe the emergence of modern accounting principles and review the neuroscientific evidence suggesting a mapping from brain function to the principles of modern accounting. Our analysis of NeuroAccounting is important because it extends Basu and Waymire (2006) to provide a new way to scientifically view accounting, which can prove useful for evaluating the desirability of implementing new policies that run contrary to long-established accounting principles.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: Accounting principles, economic exchange, neuroeconomics, primate brain
JEL Classification: D80, E11, M40
Date posted: February 2, 2009
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