Dopamine Made Me Do It. Can Neuroscience Really Explain Everything?
As a value investor I particularly dislike fads, which always lack long term profitability and meaning. I just found an article detailing the widespread misuse of brain scans. It would be interesting to think of the surge in “neuro”anything as being a bubble. The classic example being the misuse of brain scans by “neuromarketing” firms to determine consumer preferences.
Article Introduction (Via Forbes)
How did so many smart people fall for Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme? According to the latest pop science, their brain chemistry made them do it. Interviewed about the Madoff mess on National Public Radio in December, Camelia Kuhnen, an assistant professor at the Kellogg School of Management and an expert in the new field of neurofinance, declared: “Potential reward will increase activation in the brain’s reward center, which will make you take more financial risk.”
What an odd explanation. I don’t deny that the chemical dopamine surges in the brain when we anticipate pleasure. I’m saying that observations such as professor Kuhnen’s tell us no more about behavior than we already know. Namely, that the promise of money makes investors take risks.
Article Excerpts (Via Forbes)
“Suddenly brain chemistry is the explanation of choice for all kinds of conduct, from why voters back a candidate to how consumers choose between Burger King & McDonalds.”
“The problem with reading brains this way is that specific brain structures rarely perform single tasks, making one-to-one mapping between a given region and mental state nearly impossible. For example, the part of the brain associated with disgust, the one stimulated by candidate Edwards, is also linked to orgasm and to indignation.”