Neural Experiments and Neuroeconomics

China Social Science Review

No.1, 2022


Neural Experiments and Neuroeconomics



Ye Hang and Luo Jun


In Thomas Kuhn’s words, economics is undergoing a “paradigm revolution.” In the last sixty years, behavioral and experimental economists have discovered a massive amount of behavioral anomalies that pose a major challenge to the axiomatic system of traditional economics, with its hypothesis of rational man. Neuroeconomics and the relevant neural experiments have played a unique and irreplaceable role in this process. Experimental methods in neuroeconomics serve as a technical tool for empirical evidence in the same way as electron microscopes, astronomical telescopes and particle accelerators do for natural sciences. These methods elevate the “behavior-psychology” analyses of traditional economics to the level of “brain-neuron” analyses which are observable, controllable, and repeatable, thus providing economics with solid scientific evidence for understanding human behavior and revealing its underlying psychological motivations and preference mechanisms.