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Valuing Others: Evidence from Economics, Developmental Psychology, and Neurobiology

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Neuroscience and Social Science

Abstract

Human social skills are widely studied among very different disciplines. In this chapter, we review, discuss, and relate evidence concerning the process of valuing others’ perspectives, preferences, and behaviors from an economic, psychological, and neurobiological viewpoint. This process of valuing others (or other-regarding preferences) can be understood as weighing others’ preferences to adapt our own behavior and achieve adequate social interaction. We first review economic research related to decision-making in social contexts, with emphasis on how decision-making has integrated other-regarding preferences into the decision-making algorithm. By means of social and developmental psychology research, we then review how social skills develop from identification to understanding others. Finally, we discuss the neurobiological mechanisms underlying social skills and social decision-making, focusing on those systems that can participate in processes of valuing others preferences. As a conclusion, we highlight five points that we believe an interdisciplinary approach should take into account. We thus intend to generate a starting point for building a more extensive explicatory bridge among the different disciplines that study complex human social behavior.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A simple functional specification of the agent’s social preferences could be expressed as \( {U}_i\left({x}_i,{x}_{-i},{\theta}_i\right)=\left(1-{\theta}_i\right)\times u\left({x}_{-i}\right)+{\theta}_i\times u\left({x}_{-i}\right)=\left(1-{\theta}_i\right)\times \sqrt{x_i}+{\theta}_i\times \sqrt{x_{-i}} \) where θ i represents the weight agent i attaches to his partner individual welfare. In some alternative functional specifications, both considerations to the efficiency and equity of the final distribution have been introduced (see [164]).

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica CONICYT (Grant FONDECYT 11405268 to CR-S, Grant FONDECYT Inicio 11140535 to PB and Grant PCHA/DoctoradoNacional/2014-21140043 to PS-I).

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Billeke, P., Soto-Icaza, P., Aspé-Sánchez, M., Villarroel, V., Rodríguez-Sickert, C. (2017). Valuing Others: Evidence from Economics, Developmental Psychology, and Neurobiology. In: Ibáñez, A., Sedeño, L., García, A. (eds) Neuroscience and Social Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-68421-5_2

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