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From homo economicus towards a computational model of caring economics: How motivation determines decision making and cooperation


Singer,  Tania
Department Social Neuroscience, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Singer, T. (2015). From homo economicus towards a computational model of caring economics: How motivation determines decision making and cooperation. Talk presented at International Convention for Psychological Science (ICPS). Amsterdam, the Netherlands. 2015-03-12 - 2015-03-14.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-412F-5
I will present a new motivation-based computational model of decision making aiming to explore new avenues of how psychological and neuroscientific knowledge about human motivation, emotion and social cognition can inform models of economic decision making in addressing global economic problems. In particular, this model seeks to help formulate a new generation of economic models that explore the opportunities for more cooperative, pro-social and sustainable economic behaviors and by this providing a new vision of a "caring economics." In our model we question fundamental assumption of mainstream economy, such as context-independent and stable preferences, means-end rationality, and strictly individualistic and self-interested decision making. We assume that all behavior is motivated and explore the influence of activating different motivational systems (such as achievement, power, care, affiliation or threat) on different types of decision making in economic social exchange situations (such as self-interested, prosocial, norm-conforming, competitive or defensive choices). To enable clear quantitative predictions of this model for economic choices we suggest concrete utility functions linking each motivational system with its respective choices in the context of game-theoretical paradigms such as the public good game. In some we propose a motivation based computational model of human decision making enabling to solve cooperative problems in a globalized world.