Neural Bases of Financial Decision Making: From Spikes to Large-Scale Brain Connectivity


The human brain is able to perceive and retrieve different pieces of information, to integrate them by weighing their relative importance, and to initiate informed actions. Therefore, we can see our brain as an extremely powerful information processing and prediction machine, allowing us to make complex financial decisions. From a neural perspective, decision making is investigated on different levels. While some neuroeconomists aim to understand the relationship between single-cell activity, utility, and choices, others focus on the joint activity of entire neuronal populations within a brain region, as well as the interaction of different brain regions in decision making. In this chapter, we aim to give an overview of several approaches to the investigation of neural activity and its relation to financial decision making. We start by outlining the basic principles of neural information processing and continue by presenting the most important methods applied in neuroeconomics. Then we discuss the crucial role of the reward system in mediating financial decision making. Finally, we describe a computational framework that provides a psychologically as well as neurobiologically plausible account of how decisions emerge in the brain.

Springer International Publishing