The explanatory power of economic theory is tested by the phenomenon of irrational consumption, examples of which include such addictive behaviors as disordered and pathological gambling. Midbrain Mutiny examines different economic models of disordered gambling, using the frameworks of neuroeconomics (which analyzes decision making in the brain) and picoeconomics (which analyzes patterns of consumption behavior), and drawing on empirical evidence about behavior and the brain.
The book describes addiction in neuroeconomic terms as chronic disruption of the balance between the midbrain dopamine system and the prefrontal and frontal serotonergic system, and reviews recent evidence from trials testing the effectiveness of antiaddiction drugs. The authors argue that the best way to understand disordered and addictive gambling is with a hybrid picoeconomic-neuroeconomic model.
About the Authors
Don Ross is Professor of Economics and Dean of Commerce at the University of Cape Town, and Research Fellow in the Center for Economic Analysis of Risk at Georgia State University. He is the author of Economic Theory and Cognitive Science: Microexplanation (MIT Press, 2005), companion volume to Midbrain Mutiny.
Carla Sharp is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Houston.
Rudy E. Vuchinich was formerly Professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
David Spurrett is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at the Howard College Campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
—John Monterosso, University of California, Los Angeles
—Warren K. Bickel, Mills Chair of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Prevention, and Director, Center for Addiction Research, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
—Howard Rachlin, Psychology Department, State University of New York, Stony Brook
—George Ainslie, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Temple Medical College