Time Preferences in the Perspective of Cognitive Neurosciences

An application of findings of cognitive science and neuroscience revealing function of brain processes can already introduce analytical tools for estimating human behavior in real environment. This paper reviews research of neural correlates of intertemporal decision making. The results show that intertemporal decision-making is not an integral phenomena as implied by the exponential discounting model, however it employs several distinct neural systems in the brain (e.g. the data shows the structural relevance of hyperbolic utility discounting) and causes that intertemporal decision-making focused on long term objectives is quantitatively different, as was also observed on impulsive preference reversals and lack of will-power phenomena. At the same time research in neuroeconomics shows the importance of subjective time-delays analysis in comparison with simple discounting of expected utility and points out that models integrating feelings of expectation i.e. anticipation (enjoyment, fear), which significantly impact the present utility magnitude, are correct. Nevertheless author admits that utilization of neuroeconomics is only potential for, to date, the research has not been able to answer economic questions in a better way than current purely economic research.

Citation: Houdek, P. (2008). Time Preferences in the Perspective of Cognitive Neurosciences. E-Logos, Electronic Journal for Philosophy, 15(2008), ISSN 1211-0442. [in Czech as Časové preference z pohledu kognitivní neurovědy