Translating upwards: linking the neural and social sciences via neuroeconomics
Clement Levallois, John A. Clithero, Paul Wouters, Ale Smidts and Scott A. Huettel
Nature Reviews Neuroscience 13, 789-797 (November 2012) | doi:10.1038/nrn3354
The social and neural sciences share a common interest in understanding the mechanisms that underlie human behaviour. However, interactions between neuroscience and social science disciplines remain strikingly narrow and tenuous. We illustrate the scope and challenges for such interactions using the paradigmatic example of neuroeconomics. Using quantitative analyses of both its scientific literature and the social networks in its intellectual community, we show that neuroeconomics now reflects a true disciplinary integration, such that research topics and scientific communities with interdisciplinary span exert greater influence on the field. However, our analyses also reveal key structural and intellectual challenges in balancing the goals of neuroscience with those of the social sciences. To address these challenges, we offer a set of prescriptive recommendations for directing future research in neuroeconomics.