Neuroaccounting, Part I: The Primate Brain and Reciprocal Exchange

35 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2009  

John W. Dickhaut

Chapman University (Deceased)

Sudipta Basu

Temple University - Department of Accounting

Kevin A. McCabe

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Gregory B. Waymire

Emory University - Goizueta Business School

Date Written: January 30, 2009

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Accounting principles, economic exchange, neuroeconomics, primate brain

JEL Classification: D80, E11, M40

Suggested Citation

Dickhaut, John W. and Basu, Sudipta and McCabe, Kevin A. and Waymire, Gregory B., Neuroaccounting, Part I: The Primate Brain and Reciprocal Exchange (January 30, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1336526 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1336526

John Dickhaut

Chapman University (Deceased)

Sudipta Basu

Temple University - Department of Accounting ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
215.204.0489 (Phone)
215.204.5587 (Fax)

Kevin A. McCabe

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

Gregory B. Waymire (Contact Author)

Emory University - Goizueta Business School ( email )

Goizueta Business School
1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6589 (Phone)
404-727-6313 (Fax)

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