Imaging Economic Brains: the analysis of an emerging scientific field
01 / 2008 - 01 / 2010
Imaging Economic Brains is a two-year postdoctoral research project, to be carried out within ERIM, aiming at the analysis of the emergence of a new technology-driven social science field: neuro-economics, a new field in economics and management science. This field seeks to mobilize advanced brain imaging techniques from neuroscience to analyze the biological basis of economic decision making. It sits at the interface between economics, management science, psychology, and neuroscience. The emergence and dynamics of neuro-economics is viewed as a special case of technological change in the development of research cultures. Historians of science have made clear that technology and research instrumentation are main factors in the development of scientific research. By integrating new measurement and observational instruments in their research practice, scientists have redefined their objects of research and consequently also the key questions in their field. Imaging technologies have traditionally played an important role in this dynamics (as illustrated by e.g., the invention of the microscope). The new brain imaging technologies (in particular fMRI and its related brain scanning techniques) have already had a strong influence on medical science, neuroscience, and the cognitive sciences. But how will they influence the social and behavioral sciences?