Scaling the Heights of Corporate Greed: Chafkin and Lo on Risk - Freakonomics Blog - NYTimes.com:
"Much of neoclassical economics is based on the assumption that individuals act rationally and that markets fully reflect all available information, i.e., markets are informationally efficient. So powerful and far-reaching are the implications of this hypothesis that we sometimes forget it is meant to be an approximation to a much more complex reality. Recent advances in the cognitive neurosciences have radically altered our understanding of human decision-making, underscoring the importance of emotion, “hardwired” responses, and neural “plasticity” (the adaptability of neural pathways) in producing observed behavior (see Lo 2004, 2005). These breakthroughs show that decisions are often the result of several distinct components of the brain — some under our direct control and others that work behind the scenes and below our consciousness — that collaborate to yield a course of action best suited to achieve our immediate goals. On occasion, those immediate goals may conflict with larger and more important goals, like survival."