The Neural Basis of Economic Decision-Making in the Ultimatum Game

  title={The Neural Basis of Economic Decision-Making in the Ultimatum Game},
  author={Alan G. Sanfey and James K. Rilling and Jessica A Aronson and Leigh Nystrom and Jonathan D. Cohen},
  pages={1755 - 1758}
The nascent field of neuroeconomics seeks to ground economic decisionmaking in the biological substrate of the brain. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging of Ultimatum Game players to investigate neural substrates of cognitive and emotional processes involved in economic decision-making. In this game, two players split a sum of money;one player proposes a division and the other can accept or reject this. We scanned players as they responded to fair and unfair proposals. Unfair offers… 

Affective state and decision-making in the Ultimatum Game

Skin conductance activity was higher for unfair offers and was associated with the rejection of unfair offers in the Ultimatum Game, and this pattern was only observed for offers proposed by human conspecifics, but not for offers generated by computers.

Irrational Economic Decision-Making after Ventromedial Prefrontal Damage: Evidence from the Ultimatum Game

Results suggest that emotion regulation processes subserved by VMPC are a critical component of normal economic decision making, and damage to ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC), an area critical for the modulation of emotional reactions, would result in exaggerated irrational economic decisions.

he Ultimatum Game and the brain: A meta-analysis f neuroimaging studies

The first quantitative summary of neuroimaging studies in social decision-making with a meta-analysis of 11 fMRI studies of the Ultimatum Game is presented, including data from 282 participants.

No Brainer Predictions in the Ultimatum Game

Observations of the specific regions in the brain that are active when behaviour is observed can be very useful for a neuroscientist. But what could it add to our understanding of economic behaviour?

Homo Neuroeconomicus: A Review of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Game Trials on Economic Choice

This paper discusses the development of a neuroeconomic model of decision-making (DM). The method used was a review of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of game trials on economic choice. Key

Neural mechanism of proposer's decision-making in the ultimatum and dictator games☆

Functional magnetic resonance imaging study revealed that proposing fair offers in the dictator game elicited greater activation in the right supramarginal gyrus, right medial frontal gyrus and left anterior cingulate cortex compared with proposing fair offer in the ultimatum game in 23 Chinese undergraduate and graduate students.

Interoception Drives Increased Rational Decision-Making in Meditators Playing the Ultimatum Game

It is shown that meditators activate a different network of brain areas compared with controls enabling them to uncouple negative emotional reactions from their behavior, highlighting the clinically and socially important possibility that sustained training in mindfulness meditation may impact distinct domains of human decision-making.

Decision-making in economic games: neural underpinnings of rationality deviations and inter-individual differences

This thesis first focused on the effect of anticipated emotions upon decision-making. Using a Trust Game, we found that some individuals were more sensitive to disappointment than others, making

Social Decision-Making: Insights from Game Theory and Neuroscience

These findings provide a fruitful starting point for improved models of social decision-making, informed by the formal mathematical approach of economics and constrained by known neural mechanisms.



An integrative theory of prefrontal cortex function.

It is proposed that cognitive control stems from the active maintenance of patterns of activity in the prefrontal cortex that represent goals and the means to achieve them, which provide bias signals to other brain structures whose net effect is to guide the flow of activity along neural pathways that establish the proper mappings between inputs, internal states, and outputs needed to perform a given task.

Dissociating the role of the dorsolateral prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortex in cognitive control.

Event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging and a task-switching version of the Stroop task were used to examine whether these components of cognitive control have distinct neural bases in the human brain and a double dissociation was found.

Conflict monitoring versus selection-for-action in anterior cingulate cortex

Functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to measure brain activation during performance of a task where, for a particular subset of trials, the strength of selection-for-action is inversely related to the degree of response conflict, providing evidence in favour of the conflict-monitoring account of ACC function.

Subcortical and cortical brain activity during the feeling of self-generated emotions

The hypothesis that the process of feeling emotions requires the participation of brain regions that are involved in the mapping and/or regulation of internal organism states is tested, indicating the close relationship between emotion and homeostasis.

Neuropsychology of fear and loathing

Evidence from humans consistent with this approach has recently been obtained by studies indicating that signals of fear and disgust are processed by distinct neural substrates, which has implications for theories of emotion.

Fairness versus reason in the ultimatum game.

It is shown that fairness will evolve if the proposer can obtain some information on what deals the responder has accepted in the past, and similarly to the evolution of cooperation, is linked to reputation.

Unfairness, Anger, and Spite: Emotional Rejections of Ultimatum Offers

This paper addresses an anomaly in experimental economics, the rejection of ultimatum offers, and uses a psychological explanation for this essentially economic event. The wounded pride/spite model

Anonymity versus Punishment in Ultimatum Bargaining

Abstract Previous investigations have shown that laboratory play of the ultimatum game differs from the perfect equilibrium prediction. The anonymity hypothesis attributes this to a distortion of

Experimental practices in economics: A methodological challenge for psychologists?

There is a call for more research on the consequences of methodological preferences, such as the use on monetary payments, and a “do-it-both-ways” rule regarding the enactment of scripts, repetition of trials, and performance-based monetary payments.

Prefrontal Contributions to Executive Control: fMRI Evidence for Functional Distinctions within Lateral Prefrontal Cortex

Data suggest that anatomically separable subregions within lateral PFC may be functionally distinct and are consistent with models that posit a hierarchical relationship between dorsolateral and ventrolateral regions such that the former monitors and selects goal-relevant representations being maintained by the latter.