Neuroeconomics of Prosocial Behavior - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128013038, 9780128014417

Neuroeconomics of Prosocial Behavior

1st Edition

The Compassionate Egoist

Authors: Carolyn Declerck Christophe Boone
eBook ISBN: 9780128014417
Paperback ISBN: 9780128013038
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 8th September 2015
Page Count: 186
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This summary of recent research in neuroeconomics aims to explain how and why a person can sometimes be generous, helpful, and cooperative, yet other times behave in a self-interested and/or exploitative manner. The book explains a dual process of analysis measuring immediate needs of the individual, relative to long term gains possible through prosocial behavior (e.g. synergy, accumulating profits, (in)direct reciprocity) with the output further mitigated by the motivation of the individual at that moment and any special circumstances of the environment. Ultimately it can be shown that prosocial behavior can be economically rational. Yet even when individuals are intrinsically motivated to act prosocially, they are also able to reverse this behavior when they sense it is no longer adaptive.

The book will further explore individual differences in prosocial behavior, the development of prosocial behavior, and how a personal neural signature forms that facilitates or hampers cooperation. The book includes game theory research, neuroimaging studies, and research in traditional cognitive psychology to better understand human decision-making re prosocial behavior. This will be of interest to cognitive, developmental, and social psychologists, as well as neuroscientists, and behavioral economists.

Key Features

  • Explores: Individual differences in prosocial behavior, The development of prosocial behavior, How a personal neural signature forms that facilitates or hampers cooperation
  • Includes: Game theory research, Neuroimaging studies, Research in traditional cognitive psychology


Cognitive, developmental, and social psychologists, as well as neuroscientists, and behavioral economists

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Chapter 1. Two Routes to Cooperation
    • 1.1 The Evolutionary Origins of Prosocial Behavior
    • 1.2 What do we Mean by Prosociality?
    • 1.3 Hic et nunc Reasons for Prosocial Behavior: Two Routes to Cooperation
    • 1.4 Rationality and the Brain
    • 1.5 Summary
    • References
  • Chapter 2. The Neuroanatomy of Prosocial Decision Making: The Role of Valuation, Cognitive Control, and Social Cognition
    • 2.1 Opening the "Black Box" of Decision Making
    • 2.2 A Model for (Pro)Social Decision Making Based on Incentives and Trust
    • 2.3 Reward System Computes the Subjective Expected Value of (Pro)Social Decisions
    • 2.4 Cognitive Control System Processes Extrinsic Incentives
    • 2.5 Social Cognition System Processes Trust and Threat Signals
    • 2.6 Summary
    • References
  • Chapter 3. Neurochemistry of Prosocial Decision Making: The Role of Dopamine, Serotonin, and Oxytocin
    • 3.1 Dopamine
    • 3.2 Serotonin
    • 3.3 Oxytocin
    • 3.4 Summary
    • References
  • Chapter 4. Individual Differences in Prosocial Decision Making: Social Values as a Compass
    • 4.1 How Social Values Become Part and Parcel of Stable Personality Types
    • 4.2 Social Values Define the Type of Rationality that Underscores Prosocial Decision Making: A Conceptual Model
    • 4.3 Costly Punishment and Strong Reciprocators
    • 4.4 Summary
    • References
  • Chapter 5. Beyond Parochialism: Cooperation Across the Globe
    • 5.1 Heuristics and Rationality
    • 5.2 Groups Define the Boundaries of Prosocial Behavior
    • 5.3 Moving Beyond Parochialism
    • 5.4 Summary and Epilog
    • References
  • Index


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© Academic Press 2015
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About the Author

Carolyn Declerck

Carolyn Declerck is currently a professor at the Department of Economic Sciences at the University of Antwerp where she teaches psychology and conducts research on cooperation and social dilemmas. C. Declerck obtained her PhD in Ecology at the University of California Davis (1991) and subsequently taught various classes in ecology and biodiversity at Portland State University, Oregon (1992-1998). She conducted post-doctoral research in the neuroscience of choice behavior and economic decision making at the University of Antwerp (1999-2006) and joined the Faculty there in 2006. Together with Christophe Boone they started a research program in neuroeconomics where they and their graduate students combine principles of psychology, behavioral economics, and the tools of neurosciences to try to unravel the different motives underlying social decision-making.

Carolyn Declerck is also the author of a Dutch book (Who is the Homo economics?, Leuven: ACCO Press) with the purpose of introducing the principles of psychology to undergraduate students in Economic Sciences.

Affiliations and Expertise

Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Christophe Boone

Christophe Boone is a full professor of Organization Theory and Behavior at the Faculty of Applied Economics of the University of Antwerp (Belgium). Before that he was full-time faculty at the Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE) of Maastricht University, The Netherlands (1992-2001). He held a honorary chair in Organization Theory at the University of Groningen (2005-2006). Recently, he was nominated as a fellow extra muros at the GSBE of Maastricht University (2014-2017). He is co-founder of the Antwerp Centre of Evolutionary demography (ACED), an international and interdisciplinary research institute established at the University of Antwerp in 2007 dedicated to the study of the antecedents and consequences of diversity in the realm of teams, organizations, industries and communities. Christophe Boone is an interdisciplinary social scientist with research interests that currently focus on the dynamics of organizational populations in local communities, the antecedents and consequences of team and organizational diversity, CEO values and cognition, and the neuroeconomics of decision making.

Affiliations and Expertise

Faculty of Applied Economics, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

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