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Economics (3rd edition): Making sense of the Modern Economy by Saugato Datta

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10 An evolving field

Do economists need brains?

A new school of economists is controversially turning to neuroscience to improve the dismal science

FOR ALL THE UNDOUBTED WIT of their neuroscience-inspired concept album, “Heavy Mental” – songs include “Mind-Body Problem” and “All in a Nut” – The Amygdaloids are unlikely to loom large in the annals of rock and roll. Yet when the history of economics is finally written, Joseph LeDoux, the New York band’s singer-guitarist, may deserve at least a footnote. In 1996 Mr LeDoux, who by day is a professor of neuroscience at New York University, published a book, “The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life”, that helped to inspire what is today one of the liveliest and most controversial ...

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