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Alcohol, neuroscience, genetics & public policy

I earlier presented a liberal-rational choice model of alcohol use and policy. In that model problem drinkers were a ‘nuisance’ minority. Although this soothed the wounds I had experienced from being described on this blog as ‘illiberal’ on drugs policy it really is a limited way of looking at what is a serious social problem. […]

Neuroeconomics of being a spendthrift or tightwad

Why do people run up excessive debt? Why are many in the population tightwads? The Economist reviews an article in Neuron (by Brian Knutson, Scott Rick, G. Elliott Wimmer, Drazen Prelec and George Loewenstein) which provides a possible neuroeconomic explanation.Economics assumes humans are rational beings so price is a signal that helps decide the combination […]

Memories are made of this da-da da-da-da-da

The Xmas edition of The Economist has a survey of neuroscience. It is a useful overview which gets you to the frontiers of the area quickly. I was particularly taken by the discussion of memory. Like many (of my vintage) I worry about the strength of my own memory.The part of the brain that is […]

Brain food

I have previously posted on the idea that religious need might stem from something hardwired into the human brain. In my view religion is a widely-practiced irrational blind faith that has some beneficial social outcomes (‘trust’ reduces transactions costs in a market economy) and also has outcomes beneficial for the individual (religion has evolutionary advantages […]