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Learning-related human brain activations reflecting individual finances


Tobler, Philippe N; Fletcher, P C; Bullmore, E T; Schultz, W (2007). Learning-related human brain activations reflecting individual finances. Neuron, 54(1):167-175.

Abstract

A basic tenet of microeconomics suggests that the subjective value of financial gains decreases with increasing assets of individuals ("marginal utility"). Using concepts from learning theory and microeconomics, we assessed the capacity of financial rewards to elicit behavioral and neuronal changes during reward-predictive learning in participants with different financial backgrounds. Behavioral learning speed during both acquisition and extinction correlated negatively with the assets of the participants, irrespective of education and age. Correspondingly, response changes in midbrain and striatum measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging were slower during both acquisition and extinction with increasing assets and income of the participants. By contrast, asymptotic magnitudes of behavioral and neuronal responses after learning were unrelated to personal finances. The inverse relationship of behavioral and neuronal learning speed with personal finances is compatible with the general concept of decreasing marginal utility with increasing wealth.

Abstract

A basic tenet of microeconomics suggests that the subjective value of financial gains decreases with increasing assets of individuals ("marginal utility"). Using concepts from learning theory and microeconomics, we assessed the capacity of financial rewards to elicit behavioral and neuronal changes during reward-predictive learning in participants with different financial backgrounds. Behavioral learning speed during both acquisition and extinction correlated negatively with the assets of the participants, irrespective of education and age. Correspondingly, response changes in midbrain and striatum measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging were slower during both acquisition and extinction with increasing assets and income of the participants. By contrast, asymptotic magnitudes of behavioral and neuronal responses after learning were unrelated to personal finances. The inverse relationship of behavioral and neuronal learning speed with personal finances is compatible with the general concept of decreasing marginal utility with increasing wealth.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
08 University Research Priority Programs > Foundations of Human Social Behavior: Altruism and Egoism
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:27 Oct 2011 12:25
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 09:20
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0896-6273
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2007.03.004
PubMed ID:17408585

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