BRAIN ON MONEY
HOW YOUR BRAIN DECIDES TO TELL YOU THAT IT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT AND IMPRESSIVE ORGAN
GLIMCHER’S TAKE ON NEUROECONOMICS
JING TING’S TAKE ON ITS RELATION TO ADDICTION
Toh Jing Ting
The Basis of Addiction and Why Rehabilitation Efforts Sometimes Fail
1. Glimcher Book Review
1.1 Summary of Arguments
In this book, Paul W. Glimcher argues for the case of neuroeconomics, and emphasizes on the relevance of neuroeconomics in helping to improve on existing theories of choice prediction.
As an ontological opposition to complete reductionism, Glimcher argues that although complete reduction of a branch of science to a lower level is not possible, partial reduction is possible. In fact,…show more content… Cardinal data such as neural firing rates can be obtained from brain scans during decision-making tasks, which allows us to understand the subjective valuation of the choice made by the subject. Comparing the neuron firing rates in different subjects will allow us to compare the valuations in different subjects as well. Thus, what we get is more than how useful the choice is to the subject, but rather, how much the subject values that choice. In other words, it shows how much welfare the subject gets from making that choice. (This is more than just happiness, as a valuation will also include utility and other factors as well. Thus, the subject will still choose the same option if given another…show more content… This theory suggests that certain drugs mimics the action of dopamine Reward Prediction Errors (RPEs), leading to an increase in RPE signal in the individual and cause synaptic modifications to occur (Robinson and Berridge, 2003). Incentive sensitization thus occurs, altering brain systems associated with the nucleus accumbens (Robinson and Berridge, 2003). Since the nucleus accumbens is associated with reward prediction and actual administration of reward, we can deduce from the above information that the drug user anticipates a reward (the ‘high’ feeling) when taking a drug.
Studies have also found that frequent drug use alters the neurochemistry of reward circuitry associated with the nucleus accumbens (Robinson and Berridge, 2003). Changes in structure have been observed on the neurons itself (Robinson et al., 2001), and this may suggest that synaptic connections and information transmission is altered within the brain (Robinson and Berridge,