This is a topics course on Neuroeconomics. According to Wikipedia, “neuroeconomics combines neuroscience, economics, and psychology to study how people make decisions. It looks at the role of the brain when we evaluate decisions, categorize risks and rewards, and interact with each other.” Together we will read a set of papers which would serve as an introduction to some of the fun themes in the field.
Each week we will discuss a paper in detail. A group of students will make a presentation weekly. We will discuss the research question asked, the experimental design, the result, the interpretation of the result in the paper, and whether we as readers will run the experiment differently and whatever interests, excites or confuses us when reading the paper. In sum, this is a course where everyone gets to speak up a lot!
Because it is a topics course, our goal is not to be comprehensive. Each year we have a different focus. The topics of this year have yet to be decided. But likely we will focus on the following. Online communication has become prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical social interactions are particularly missing. We would like to better understand the behavioral and psychological impact of this. Moreover, the pandemic may cause negative emotions such as fear and loneliness. It may even cause substance use. This makes new safety learning or memory-modifications relevant. A detailed reading list will be provided at the first class meeting.
|Our goal is to help students learn to speak up. In order to do that, students, in groups, have to present papers. When they are in the audience, they are encouraged to ask questions and join discussions.
Hence, we break the goal into two steps. Understanding a paper is the first step. Only with a thorough understanding can one present the paper and handle the questions. Being able to criticize it scientifically is the next. Only when one criticizes a paper scientifically will s/he start to see whether the results are convincing.
Hence, we try to create an atmosphere where students can feel easy to speak up, in order to learn to talk about science.