Neuroeconomics of Food Choice

The Chronicle of Higher Education ran a piece last week on the need for more neuroeconomic research.  

While I am a bit unsure of where the field is heading (and in some cases it is over-hyped), I do think there are fascinating things to be learned.   That's one of the reasons why I'm involved in a project with researchers at KSU, UMKC, and KU-med, where we are studying how people make choices between foods produced with controversial technologies while observing their brain responses via fMRI.  The ability of plant and food scientists to innovate depends on people's acceptance of technologies, and I'm hopeful that we can provide insight into this matter.

Right now we have 50 observations collected (which is actually quite a large sample size for an fMRI study), and we are in the process of writing up several papers.  So stay tuned for our findings.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with the optimistic closing sentences from the Chronicle article related to whether economist shoulds be spending their time on neuro-imaging: 

The only way to find out, he says, is to do it. And if it works, if a model of a mental process improves an economist's ability to predict what people will do, "then I think neuroeconomics could be very big."