"Georg Simmel's Theory of Money and its Relevance for Current Neuroeconomics and Psychology" Free Download
Annual Neuropsychoeconomics Conference, May 30 2014, Munich

CARSTEN HERRMANN-PILLATH, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management

The paper develops a conceptual framework for the neuroeconomic analysis of money that is based on recent theories of distributed cognition. In doing this, I show that a unique historical contribution to the theory of money, Simmel’s ‘Philosophy of Money’, receives full support by recent research in psychology and neuroscience. I take this issue as a litmus test that allows for a methodological evaluation of the recent Glimcher/Camerer controversy over the appropriate frames for neuroeconomics (neoclassical vs. behavioural), levels of analysis (basic reward circuits vs. higher-level concept/model based learning) and units of analysis (mechanisms versus emotions). I propose that the artefact of money activates emotions that embody social reciprocity, thus triggering distinct neuronal activity patterns that have been identified experimentally in the context of money illusion and other related behaviours. This shows how neuroeconomics can help to explain the peculiar functioning of human institutions without succumbing to neuronal reductionism.


About this eJournal

This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts focused on research where economic outcomes are the product of many individual decisions, constrained by scarcity, and equilibrium forces that simultaneously shape a person's social networks and the institutionally defined rules of the game. Decisions are made by computations in the brain which produce action-choices that directly affect the homeostatic wellbeing of the individual and choices that indirectly change wellbeing by changing an individual's future constraints, the scope of their social networks, and their message sending rights within the institutions they participate. Neuroeconomics broadly speaking is interested in the study of these computations and the resulting choices they produce. This includes experiments that attempt to understand the mechanisms of neuronal computations that produce action-choices, theories which predict how neuronal computations in socio-economic environments produce decisions, outcomes and wellbeing, and policy which use our understanding of neuoroeconomic behavior to either build or defend better solutions to societal problems.

Editors: Michael C. Jensen, Harvard University, and Kevin A. McCabe, George Mason University


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Advisory Board

Neuroeconomics eJournal

Harris & Harris Group Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management, Principal Investigator, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Professor, Baylor University - Department of Neuroscience

Professor of Economics and Law, Chapman University - Economic Science Institute, Chapman University School of Law