The Mind of the Market: How Biology and Psychology Shape Our Economic Lives

The Mind of the Market: How Biology and Psychology Shape Our Economic Lives

Michael Shermer

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0805089160

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

"[A] captivating raconteur of all the greatest hits of behavioral, evolutionary and neuropsychology . . . Fascinating."―Los Angeles Times Book Review

How did we make the leap from ancient hunter-gatherers to modern consumers, and why do people get so emotional about financial decisions? The national bestseller The Mind of the Market uncovers the evolutionary roots of our economic behavior.

Drawing on the new field of neuroeconomics, psychologist Michael Shermer investigates what brain scans reveal about bargaining, snap purchases, and establishing trust in business. He scrutinizes experiments in behavioral economics to understand why people hang on to losing stocks and why negotiations disintegrate into tit-for-tat disputes. He brings together findings from psychology and biology to describe how our tribal ancestry makes us suckers for brands, why researchers believe cooperation feels (biochemically) like sex, and how even capuchin monkeys get indignant if they don't get a fair reward for their work.

Entertaining and eye-opening, The Mind of the Market explains the real science of economics.

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Temple cult, which had moved its operations there from the more transparent and rule-bound culture of San Francisco and Los Angeles, ordered the mass suicide and genocide of his own followers by inducing them to drink a cyanide-laced Kool-Aid drink. Although some members did try to escape (and were shot), and some members had to be forced to drink the poison, most got caught up in the contagion of the moment. In the end, of course, people choose to be good or evil. We can change the conditions

any given moment, and other variables that go into what has become known as “dynamic pricing.”9 Imagine a centralized bureaucratic airline price committee meeting each morning to work out how much it is going to cost someone to fly, say, from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Wichita, Kansas, on each of a dozen different airline carriers, factoring in not only the real-time supply and demand parameters and number of available seats, but also the time of day, type of aircraft, class of travel, cost

environment and the population size of the groups that in turn determined the structure of societies and the forms of exchange, trade, and coexistence with other groups.6 The concomitant leap in food production and population was accompanied by a shift from bands and tribes to chiefdoms and states, and the development of appropriate social organizations and technologies. People began to live in semipermanent and then permanent settlements, which led to land ownership and private property, and to

comes to foreign trade, believing in the zero-sum ideology that producing a product cheaper overseas is not a gain for American consumers in the form of cheaper products, but a loss for American jobs and manufacturing.8 Under every administration of the past century—Democratic and Republican—the government has grown in size along with the taxes needed to pay for it. And nearly everyone still holds to the folk belief that in order for our economy to be healthy, it must be heavily regulated from

type over three thousand different words alone, not using the right hand at all. Another check of the keyboard reveals the alphabetic sequence (minus the vowels) DFGHJKL. It appears that the original key arrangement was just a straight alphabetical sequence, which makes sense in early experiments before testing was done to determine a faster alignment. The vowels were removed to slow the typist and prevent key jamming. This problem was eventually remedied, but by then QWERTY was so entrenched in

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