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Economics in Denial by Howard Davies - Project Syndicate

Economics in Denial by Howard Davies - Project Syndicate | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Four years into the worst financial crisis in 80 years, it is not at all clear that a majority of the economics profession has drawn relevant lessons for their models of markets and prices.
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Rationality and Irrationality in Government - Video and audio - Cass Sunstein

Rationality and Irrationality in Government - Video and audio - Cass Sunstein | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

What impact is behavioural science having on politics and business? Simplified disclosure, default rules, social norms, and ‘choice architecture’ are all being used to steer people in specific directions. Are these ‘nudges’ improving our decisions? Are they offsetting irrational behaviour? Cass Sunstein, author of Nudge and the previous Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration will discuss these new policies and the question they raise about freedom of choice. 

Cass Sunstein (@CassSunstein) is the Robert Walmsley University Professor at Harvard Law School. 

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Fighting Ebola Means Managing Fear

Fighting Ebola Means Managing Fear | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
The worst-ever outbreak of Ebola — a hemorrhagic fever that has in the past killed nine out of 10 people that contract it — is raging through the West African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, with consequences so dire that the Liberian Minister of Defense characterized it as “… spreading like wildfire, devouring everything in its path.”

In this so-called Hot Zone, a term made famous by the 1994 book, more than 2,000 Africans of all ages and from various socioeconomic backgrounds have already died, and the World Health Organization estimates that as many as 20,000 fatalities might occur before the epidemic is contained. Both the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s head, Tom Frieden, and the operations director of Doctors without Borders, Bart Janssens, have described the situation as “out of control.”

One reason why it has been so difficult to tackle the Ebola crisis is fear, which prevents healthcare workers from grappling effectively with the situation. Fear can hobble an organization; for instance, recent research shows that at Nokia, fear led to paralysis, isolating the headquarters from the marketplace and rendering it unable to respond to a fast-changing situation.
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Why Emotional Excess is Essential to Writing and Creativity

Why Emotional Excess is Essential to Writing and Creativity | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.” The third volume of Anaïs Nin’s diaries has been on heavy rotation in recent weeks, yielding Nin’s thoughtful and timeless meditations on life,mass movements, Paris vs. New York, what makes a great city, and the joy of handcraft. The subsequent installment, The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947 (public library) is an equally rich treasure trove of wisdom on everything from life to love to the art of writing. In fact, Nin’s gift shines most powerfully when she addresses all of these subjects and more in just a few ripe sentences. Such is the case with the following exquisite letter of advice she sent to a seventeen-year-old aspiring author by the name of Leonard W., whom she had taken under her wing as creative mentor.

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Study: Most published results in financial economics are wrong

Study: Most published results in financial economics are wrong | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Harvey says he was inspired by a 2005 study that shook the medical community when it proclaimed that more than half of all medical study findings are wrong. He wanted to know if that was true in the area of finance as well.

He and his co-authors studied 315 papers that examine different factors that might predict returns on stocks. Those papers propose all sorts of different potentially predictive variables, like leverage and price-to-earning ratios.

He uses genetic testing as a way of explaining.Scientists wanting to find the gene that causes or is related to a particular disease might test lots of genes. For any one gene-disease test, the odds that a statistical relationship between the two is a pure coincidence are low. But as you test more and more hypotheses, the odds of finding a "statistically significant" relationship that has no causal basis get higher and higher.

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Growth vouchers | The Behavioural Insights Team

Growth vouchers | The Behavioural Insights Team | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

The Growth Vouchers programme is a pioneering government research project, and the largest Randomised Controlled Trial of its type, that aims to make it easier for small businesses to access expert advice to help them grow and test which types of business advice are most effective.  The Behavioural Insights Team have worked with the department for Business, Innovation and Skills to develop this programme and to design its evaluation.

The Growth Vouchers programme will run until March 2015 to attract around 20,000 small businesses that do not normally use advice. Vouchers worth up to £2,000 each will be given to a majority of the small businesses who take part to help them pay for advice.

This programme will operate as a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT), which will enable the government to obtain a robust assessment of the impact of different types of advice on participating businesses. RCTs are widely regarded as the gold standard for empirical research and are used extensively in medicine and international development. This is the first time that an RCT has been run on this scale to explore what business advice works best. 

The Growth Vouchers programme will produce real and comprehensive evidence, while providing benefits for the businesses who take part. This evidence will be used to inform future policy.

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Lunch with Walter | The Behavioural Insights Team

Lunch with Walter | The Behavioural Insights Team | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Walter Mischel, author of one of the most famous psych experiments of all time – the ‘marshmallow test’ of self-control – and with a wonderful newbook summarising his work, dropped into BIT for lunch on Friday.

Walter’s work showed that the child who ate the treat, instead of waiting a few extra minutes for two treats, would later tend to do worse at school, the labour market, and in life in general. But he thinks that many people, particularly in the wider political and policy world, took away the wrong message from these dramatic headline results. In the decades of work that followed his early studies, Mischel became one of the leading critics of the ‘fixed personality view’ that became popular with the advent of psychometrics in the 60’s and 70’s (think Eysenk in the UK, Cattell et al in the USA). Walter points to the evidence on brain plasticity and epigenetics of the last two decades as having confirmed the capacity of people to learn and change, and particularly to rapidly sharpen their executive function (EF) and self-control through practice. He argues that the real lesson of epigenetics, and his own early work, is that the human genome is more like a library than a fixed script, and that situational forces and personal choices greatly affect which ‘book’, or capability, we take out over any period.

 
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Mind-Matter Interaction at a Distance of 190 km: Effects on a Random Event Generator Using a Cutoff Method | Tressoldi | NeuroQuantology

Mind-Matter Interaction at a Distance of 190 km: Effects on a Random Event Generator Using a Cutoff Method | Tressoldi | NeuroQuantology | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Abstract

 

We used a new method to test whether subjects could influence the activity of a distant random event generator (REG). In a pilot study, participants selected for their strong motivation and capacity to control their mental activity were requested to alter the functioning of a REG, located in a laboratory approximately 190 km so as to achieve a deviation of ± 1.65 standard scores from the expected mean, during sessions lasting approximately 90 seconds. The predefined cutoff was achieved in 78% of 50 experimental sessions compared to 48% of the control sessions. This study was replicated with a pre-registered confirmatory study involving thirty-four participants selected according the same criteria as in the pilot study. Each participant contributed three sessions completed in three different days giving a total of 102 sessions. The same number of control sessions was carried out. The percentage of the experimental sessions which achieved the predefined cutoff was 82.3% out of 102, compared to 13.7% for the control ones. We discuss the opportunities for exploiting this method as a mental telecommunication device. 
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Consciousness in the universe: A review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory

Abstract

The nature of consciousness, the mechanism by which it occurs in the brain, and its ultimate place in the universe are un- known. We proposed in the mid 1990’s that consciousness depends on biologically ‘orchestrated’ coherent quantum processes in collections of microtubules within brain neurons, that these quantum processes correlate with, and regulate, neuronal synaptic and membrane activity, and that the continuous Schrödinger evolution of each such process terminates in accordance with the specific Diósi–Penrose (DP) scheme of ‘objective reduction’ (‘OR’) of the quantum state. This orchestrated OR activity (‘Orch OR’) is taken to result in moments of conscious awareness and/or choice. The DP form of OR is related to the fundamentals of quantum mechanics and space–time geometry, so Orch OR suggests that there is a connection between the brain’s biomolecular processes and the basic structure of the universe. Here we review Orch OR in light of criticisms and developments in quantum biology, neu- roscience, physics and cosmology. We also introduce a novel suggestion of ‘beat frequencies’ of faster microtubule vibrations as a possible source of the observed electro-encephalographic (‘EEG’) correlates of consciousness. We conclude that consciousness plays an intrinsic role in the universe.

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The science behind how brains process logos

How a brain processes a logo

Because you’re a professional, you know that your logo is the most important first impression you make, especially in a digital world, but do you know how the brain’s visual cortex interacts with that image, and how many milliseconds it takes to process?

No? You’re not alone. Knowing the science behind how the brain “sees” a logo can help to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward.

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The psychology of free samples: how Costco improved sales by 2,000% (or the zero cost effect)

The psychology of free samples: how Costco improved sales by 2,000% (or the zero cost effect) | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
Get your free samples!

In general, people love anything free: from free WiFi to free books and everything in between,  nothing beats free. However, there seems to be something especially magical about free food; from retail chains to Realtors with open house weekends, nothing drives interest better than the lure of free food.

No other retail chain is more closely associated with free sample offerings than Costco, but why? In some cases, the lure of free samples have boosted sales as much as 2,000%, but it is not just about the monetary factor.

Free samples can influence a shopper’s decision to buy. Many times people will buy something they never intended to, simply because they were offered a free sample. This is not just because we all have a weakness for frozen pizza; as Joe Pinsker at The Atlantic details, there are psychological factors at play whenever we indulge in the free sampling arena.

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Psychology professor's new study shows the social impact of saying 'thanks'

Psychology professor's new study shows the social impact of saying 'thanks' | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Dr. Monica Bartlett has a lot to be thankful for.  Bartlett, an assistant professor of psychology at Gonzaga, recently conducted a study to be published in the journal “Emotion” that contains the first known evidence of the positive effects that expressions of gratitude have on the building and strengthening of social relationships. 

Bartlett and Dr. Lisa Williams from the University of South Wales, Australia, brought 70 GU student participants into a lab under the premise that they would be participating in a “peer editing program,” during which they would serve as mentors for high school students writing college essays. At the end of the study, all of the GU participants received a handwritten note from their mentee. Thirty of these handwritten notes contained the words “Thank you SO much,” while the other 40 did not. 

Results showed that the participants who received the thank you notes not only viewed their mentees as warmer people; they were also more willing to continue their relationship with their mentee.  When given the opportunity, most of the 30 participants were willing to share their phone number or email with their mentee for future social interaction.

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Prominence-Interpretation Theory: Explaining How People Assess Credibility Online

ABSTRACT
Four years of research has led to a theory that describes how
people assess the credibility of Web sites. This theory
proposes that users notice and interpret various Web site
elements to arrive at an overall credibility assessment.
Although preliminary, this theory explains previous research
results and suggests directions for future studies.

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Madness, Incorporated: Rethinking mental health diagnoses

Madness, Incorporated: Rethinking mental health diagnoses | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

President elect of the World Psychiatric Association Dinesh Bhugra, radical psychiatrist David Healy and clinical psychologist Richard Bentall debate the future of psychiatry. From depression to bipolar disorder, we think psychiatric diagnoses are real. Yet many now argue that categories of mental illness have little basis in nature. Is it time to abandon psychiatry and its classifications? Would this usher in a new era of effective health care or cause widespread harm?

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What We Mean When We Say 'I Did Something I Didn't Want to Do' | Big Think

What We Mean When We Say 'I Did Something I Didn't Want to Do' | Big Think | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
One way to understand a nudge—a government policy that inclines you to make a particular choice, often without your awareness—is that it makes it easier for you to do what you really would have wanted despite your fallible human nature. But how do you know what you really want? You want to lose weight but you had that candy bar instead of an apple. You want to save money but you went ahead and ordered that new Kindle even though your old one still works. You want to recycle but you threw that plastic bottle in the trash. Familiar as it is, the sense that I did something that I didn't want to do is quite strange. After all, you did it. That's good evidence you wanted to. Your argument that you didn't suggests that you have a true self which was temporarily overruled by a lesser version of you. How do you know that the regretful one is the real you? Wanting to perfect yourself is all well and good, as D.H. Lawrence once wrote, but "every man as long as he remains alive is in himself a multitude of conflicting men." Which of these do you choose to perfect, at the expense of every other?"

Behavioral economists, and the officials who use their work to make laws and rules, have often described this sense of wanting one thing but doing another as a failure to understand that the future is as real as the present. The problem is supposed to be that your emotions and biases make you see the moment today as more important than the years to come. Thus, you have regrets because you "discount the future" in a moment of weakness, and then see your mistake when your head is clear. Many behavioral interventions (like this one) are designed to make the future feel as important as the present. The assumption here is that the you who is future-oriented is a better, truer version of you.
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Behavioural economics: How to 'nudge' customers and influence people

Behavioural economics: How to 'nudge' customers and influence people | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Behavioural economics posits that all behaviour, including in business, is shaped by irrational and unconscious influences.

Behavioural economics posits that all human behaviour, including in business, is shaped by irrational and unconscious influences, such as bias, social pressure and cognitive inertia. The notion of psychology as a driver of economic action is not new: As an academic discipline behavioural economics dates back to the 1970s, and the foundational principle back at least to Adam Smith’sThe Theory of Moral Sentiments Behavioural economics has, however, only in recent years found widespread currency within the business world, spurred by a plethora of bestsellers, including Thinking Fast and Slow (2011) by Daniel Kahneman and Predictably Irrational (2oo8) by Dan Ariely.
Increased interest from the business community is due to the insights gleaned from the discipline, which have been used to successfully “nudge” customer behaviour in a variety of sectors, such as wealth management, insurance, customer products and retail. Specifically, behavioural economics has been used by product managers to guide consumers toward certain product choices (i.e., “choice design”), by marketers to develop brochures and Web sites that more persuasively communicate marketing messages and by service managers to design better support experiences.
The field can provide hundreds of potential “triggers” to augment behaviour, depending on the business objective, situation and context. Psychologists Robert Cialdini, Noah Goldstein and Steve Martin identify 50 different possible applications in The Small Big: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence (2014).Three among the list include: Leverage social proof:People will make the same decisions as a group with which they identify. Nudge people to adopt a new behavior by showing them a training video featuring their peers doing the same thing.Invoke first names: Get and keep people’s attention by frequently using their first name. A sales representative’s repeated use of a prospect’s name will cue their attention through the clutter of other sensory inputs and focus attention on the key message.The power of loss avoidance:</strong> Individuals strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. Marketing studies have shown that consumers would rather avoid a $5 surcharge then get a $5 discount even though the net effect is the same. Case study: behavioural economics in action.

 

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Bias cognitivi: cinque modi veloci per ingannarsi da soli

Bias cognitivi: cinque modi veloci per ingannarsi da soli | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it
I bias cognitivi sono automatismi mentali che ci portano a giudicare e a decidere in fretta e senza fatica. Peccato che decisioni e giudizi siano sbagliati.
Alessandro Cerboni's insight:

é dimostrato che questa visione negativa dei bias cognitivi è dovuta solo all'averli rilevati quando sbagliano, gli studiosi che affermano questo non considerano il numero superiore di casi in cui certi bias agiscono in modo corretto.

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Stopping big data from blowing our minds

Jonathan Freeman, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, leads the four-year CEEDs project, which has created an ‘eXperience Induction Machine’ (XIM). The XIM helps humans navigate vast amounts of complex information, using virtual reality and wearable sensors that track brain waves, heart rate and other responses.

‘It turns out that only a small subset of sensory input reaches conscious awareness, yet the remainder is still processed by the brain,’ said Prof. Freeman. ‘This subconscious processing is very good at detecting novel patterns and meaningful signals. By unlocking the power of the subconscious, CEEDs will make fundamental contributions to human experience.’

The XIM machine, which was developed in the lab of CEEDs’ scientific director Professor Paul Verschure in Barcelona, consists of an immersive room equipped with speakers, projectors, projection screens, pressure-sensitive floor tiles, infrared cameras and a microphone. Data visualisations are displayed on the screen and the person’s response is monitored through sensors embedded in a headset.

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What is time to the brain ? Perception of time delation - YouTube

Setting time aright - Investigating the nature of time

1. The Flash-lag Effect
2. Time perception recalibrates
2.5 illusory reversal of cause and effect
3. Can subjective time run in slow motion?

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The Universal Principle of Biology: Determinism, Quantum Physics and Spontaneity | Grandpierre | NeuroQuantology

For the last four centuries, physics became the pre-eminent natural science. Now it is widely believed that biology will replace physics in prominence. However, systematic efforts to develop a science of theoretical biology on a par with modern theoretical physics in depth and explanatory power have failed. In this paper, we introduce the most promising effort to achieve a fundamental theory of biology, the framework of Ervin Bauer, which includes three requirements for life. The universal principle of biology, which is Bauer’s principle, is introduced and presented in mathematical form. Because he was able to derive all fundamental life phenomena from this single principle, we propose that Bauer’s principle is the first and foundational principle of biology. It can play a central role in biology similar to the one played in physics by the least action principle. We posit that this new picture will open the possibility to achieve an exact theoretical biology. Expanding the conceptual framework of theoretical physics in the most suitable way that is necessary and sufficient for an exact theoretical biology is a challenging task. We also clarify some significant conceptual difficulties of Bauer’s requirements in the context of modern biology, and we fundamentally connect Bauer’s theory to quantum physics. In conclusion, we strongly believe that the only version of modern theoretical biology capable of following in the footsteps of modern physics is Bauer’s theory.
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Reply to criticism of the ‘Orch OR qubit ’– ‘Orchestrated objective reduction’ is scientifically justified

The critical commentary by Reimers et al. [1] regarding the Penrose–Hameroff theory of ‘orchestrated objective reduction’ (‘Orch OR’) is largely uninformed and basically incorrect, as they solely criticize non-existent features of Orch OR, and ignore (1) actual Orch OR features, (2) supportive evidence, and (3) previous answers to their objections (Section 5.6 in our review [2]). Here we respond point-by-point to the issues they raise.

Reimers et al.
... For quantum information processing one must have quantum information storage units such as qubits ... the involvement of quantum gravity in the manifestation of consciousness would need to be described in terms of how quantum gravity affected the operation of these qubits ...

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Sir Roger Penrose — The quantum nature of consciousness - YouTube

Sir Roger Penrose. Quantum Consciousness Theorist — Co-creator of the Orch OR model of the quantum nature of consciousness and memory. http://GF2045.com/speakers/

Knighted in 1994 for his contributions to science, Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS, is an English mathematical physicist, mathematician and philosopher.

The extraordinary scope of his work ranges from quantum physics and theories of human consciousness to relativity theory and observations on the structure of the universe. Penrose is internationally renowned for his scientific work in mathematical physics, in particular for his contributions to general relativity and cosmology. His primary interest is in a field of geometry called tesselation, the covering of surfaces with tiles of different shapes.

Among numerous prizes and awards, he received the 1988 Wolf Prize for physics, which he shared with Stephen Hawking for their contribution to our understanding of the universe.

He is the Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford, as well as an Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College.

"There is a current view that consciousness is something which arises from some complicated computation. So we have our computers, and people think that because they can do things amazingly fast, and they can calculate very quickly, and they can play chess extremely well, that they are superior to us even, and it is only some complicated aspect of this computational activity that somehow consciousness arises from that. Now my view is quite different from this. I think there is a lot of computational activity going on in the brain, but this is basically unconscious. So consciousness seems to me to be something quite different."
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Two Questions I Am Asking to Survive This Market

Two Questions I Am Asking to Survive This Market | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

In an accelerating world, I find it necessary to always be learning if I hope to survive. With markets exhibiting notable volatility, I would urge all enterprising investors to focus on two important questions that may lead to greater understanding.

Will the Future Look Like the Past?

In his always insightful column in the Wall StreetJournal, Jason Zweig interviewed Robert Shiller, a Nobel laureate in economics and the developer of the cyclically adjusted price/earnings ratio (CAPE). In the interview, there is a particular bit of wisdom for all of us who are condemned one way or another with the task of predicting the future. Shiller said that while the current CAPE level “might be high relative to history . . . how do we know that history hasn’t changed?” The real wisdom is in asking that question. Hopefully, I’ll be able to provide some comparable wisdom of my own in this post. There are at least two reasons to question the validity of the CAPE.

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What behavioural economics tells us about financial adviser greed

What behavioural economics tells us about financial adviser greed | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

There’s no doubt incentives matter for financial advisers. If an employer pays a higher commission to an adviser for selling one product instead of another, it’s likely the commission-linked product will be sold more often.

This basic reasoning was behind the previous government’s future of financial advice (FoFA) reforms. The question is, why is this so – out of pure greed, or do financial advisers just not know better?

I studied the question of pure greed in experiments in 2011, in a study where an expert/adviser knew better than his or her client what was best for the client, and the expert earned different amounts of money based on the client’s decision.

About one third of the participants in our experiment were consistently driven by their own private benefit, that is they always chose the option that generated the highest profit for them. Roughly another third showed behaviour that can best be described as trying to do the best thing for the client, with the remaining third either behaving inconsistently or being driven by some sort of mixed preference, allowing for distributional concerns.

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How Can Convenience Drive Healthy Behaviour?

How Can Convenience Drive Healthy Behaviour? | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

Changing human behaviour can be complex. No mathematical equation can determine how we will act from one situation to the next and this uncertainty presents an obvious challenge for marketers, policy makers and employers alike. Common practice has been to rely on assumptions about how people make decisions, based on what we intuitively know about human thinking. If there is one take away from social psychology though, it’s that your intuition, whether or not you’re a marketer with 15 years’ experience, can be extremely biased. Research in this area goes beyond just telling us that decision makers are irrational beings who’ve crossed the path of no return, by providing insights on the best possible way to learn from these biases, to change human behaviour in the desired direction. The beauty of these suggestions are that they are often simple and can be used by anyone, be it the experienced marketer who wants to optimize ad revenue or a mother who wants to influence her child to eat healthy.

 
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An Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience & Neuromarketing

An Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience & Neuromarketing | Bounded Rationality and Beyond | Scoop.it

An Introduction to Consumer Neuroscience & Neuromarketing is a free online class taught by Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy of Copenhagen Business School.

This course will introduce you to the multidisciplinary field of consumer neuroscience and neuromarketing. It will go through to the basic concepts of the human brain, the elements of the consumer mind, how it is studied, and how its insights can be applied in commercial and societal understandings of consumer behaviour.

  
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