Consumer Neuroscience

The Wharton School (MKTG350\850)
Spring 2018

How can studying the brain improve our understanding of consumer behavior? While neuroscience made tremendous strides throughout the 20th century, rarely were mean- ingful applications developed outside of medicine. Recently, however, breakthroughs in measurement and computation have accelerated brain science and created a dizzying array of opportunities in business and technology. Currently, applications to marketing research and product development are experiencing explosive growth that has been met with both excitement and skepticism. This mini-course provides an overview of the neuroscience behind and the potential for these developments. Topics will range from well-known and widely used applications, such as eye-tracking measures in the lab and the field, to emerging methods and measures, such as mobile technologies, face-reading algorithms, and neural predictors of market response. The course will also discuss applications in branding and product development, including wearable physiological devices and apps, sensory branding for foods and fragrances, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and neuroscience-based products designed to enhance cognitive functions. These applications stem from many subfields of cognitive neuroscience, including attention, emotion, memory, and decision making. This course is self-contained and has no prerequisites. However, students with some background in business, economics, psychology, and/or neuroscience are likely to find the material covered in this course complementary to their existing knowledge.


Behavioral Economics

Pomona College (ECON130)
Fall 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017

This course introduces students to the field of behavioral economics, which aspires to enrich the standard economic model by incorporating psychological and biological mechanisms. We will explore a wide variety of behavioral phenomena and evaluate some non-standard models developed to account for those phenomena. As we progress through the course, many of the concepts we discuss will appear connected. A question we will regularly consider, since it is good economics, is what underlying mechanism(s) might account for many of the observed behaviors. Once we have an understanding of how to model and measure various phenomena, we can also ask what might be done to improve public policy.


Intermediate Economics

Pomona College (ECON102)
Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Fall 2016

This course is an introduction to formal microeconomic theory. Broadly speaking, microeconomics is the study of economic agents making constrained decisions and the implications of those decisions for market phenomena. We will look at situations where individuals, firms, governments, or other agents must make choices in circumstances where resources are limited. A core goal for this course is to give students a formal foundation for how to develop intuition for and make predictions about economic choices.

Although this course emphasizes theory, it is important to keep reality in mind. Once we have the building blocks and appreciate their elegance, it will be beneficial to consider when and where to appropriately employ the theories we have learned. As time permits, we will also explore when and how to relax some of the standard assumptions.


Advanced Topics in Behavioral and Experimental Economics

Pomona College (ECON165)
Spring 2017

This course has two main objectives. First, the course will introduce students to the methodology and application of experiments in economics. This is an advanced elective, so students are expected to apply their knowledge towards economic questions that can be answered with experiments. Second, the course will also introduce and explore several influential models in behavioral economics. Students are also expected to familiarize themselves with the predictions and applications of these models.

These goals will be primarily accomplished by reading and synthesizing academic papers. While the literature is vast, students should strive to achieve a command of a specific topic in their individual final paper. In addition to reading and critiquing experimental papers, students will also work on their empirical skills. Several class sessions will be devoted to working with and analyzing experimental data. Finally, a small group empirical project will afford students the opportunity to ask and answer a behavioral (and possibly experimental) economic research question.


Experimental Economics

Pomona College (ECON190)
Spring 2015, Spring 2016

This senior seminar will introduce students to the methodology and application of experiments in economics. This is a capstone course, so students are expected to apply their knowledge towards economic questions that can be answered with experiments.

There are two core goals for this seminar and they will be accomplished in parallel. First, all students should aim to become acquainted with the existing literature on a topic of interest in experimental economics. This will be accomplished by reading and synthesizing academic papers. Second, all students should gain a strong introduction to the science (and art) of running economic experiments. This will also be accomplished by reading existing papers, but more importantly by experiencing and designing experiments.