Neuroeconomics and Rationality

22 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2005

See all articles by Terrence R. Chorvat

Terrence R. Chorvat

George Mason University School of Law

Kevin A. McCabe

George Mason University - Department of Economics


The assumption of rationality is both one of the most important and most controversial assumptions of modern economics. This article discusses what current experimental economic as well as neuroscience research tells us about the relationship between rationality and the mechanisms of human decision-making. The article explores the meaning of rationality, with a discussion of the distinction between traditional constructivist rationality and more ecological concepts of rationality. The article argues that ecological notions of rationality more accurately describe both human neural mechanisms as well as a wider variety of human behavior than do constructivist notions of rationality.

Keywords: Rationality, Law and economics

JEL Classification: K00, K11, K12

Suggested Citation

Chorvat, Terrence R. and McCabe, Kevin A., Neuroeconomics and Rationality. Chicago-Kent Law Review, Vol. 80, p. 101, 2005. Available at SSRN:

Terrence R. Chorvat (Contact Author)

George Mason University School of Law ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8208 (Phone)

Kevin A. McCabe

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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