John Gowdy, an economist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, noted that “neuroeconomics” is challenging the conventional economics view of humans as “utility maximizers” who make choices based on self-interest and reason. MRI scans show that we assess risks and rewards with brain regions that underpin fear, suspicion, empathy and other emotions, Gowdy explained, and we make choices very differently depending on how they are framed.
The psychiatrist Daniel Siegel of UCLA proposed that we all possess two innate, brain-based “maps” for responding to the world. One is a “me-map” that underpins our obsession with our own interests, but we also have a “we-map” corresponding to our concern for others.
The implications of these presentations were spelled out over lunch for me and other journalists (including Scientific American’s David Biello) by Jonathan Rose, founder of the Garrison Institute and the meeting’s chief sponsor and organizer. Environmentalists must frame issues to appeal to peoples’ “we-maps,” asserted Rose, a green New York real-estate mogul. Read more.