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The Measurement of Subjective Value and Its Relation to Contingent Valuation and Environmental Public Goods.

Khaw MW, Grab DA, Livermore MA, Vossler CA, Glimcher PW - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: The activations associated with the traditional classes of goods replicate previous correlations between neural activity in valuation areas and behavioral preferences.In contrast, CV-elicited values for environmental proposals did not correlate with brain activity at either the individual or population level.For a sub-population of participants, CV-elicited values were correlated with activity within the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, a region associated with cognitive control and shifting decision strategies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York City, New York, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Environmental public goods--including national parks, clean air/water, and ecosystem services--provide substantial benefits on a global scale. These goods have unique characteristics in that they are typically "nonmarket" goods, with values from both use and passive use that accrue to a large number of individuals both in current and future generations. In this study, we test the hypothesis that neural signals in areas correlated with subjective valuations for essentially all other previously studied categories of goods (ventromedial prefrontal cortex and ventral striatum) also correlate with environmental valuations. We use contingent valuation (CV) as our behavioral tool for measuring valuations of environmental public goods. CV is a standard stated preference approach that presents survey respondents with information on an issue and asks questions that help policymakers determine how much citizens are willing to pay for a public good or policy. We scanned human subjects while they viewed environmental proposals, along with three other classes of goods. The presentation of all four classes of goods yielded robust and similar patterns of temporally synchronized brain activation within attentional networks. The activations associated with the traditional classes of goods replicate previous correlations between neural activity in valuation areas and behavioral preferences. In contrast, CV-elicited values for environmental proposals did not correlate with brain activity at either the individual or population level. For a sub-population of participants, CV-elicited values were correlated with activity within the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, a region associated with cognitive control and shifting decision strategies. The results show that neural activity associated with the subjective valuation of environmental proposals differs profoundly from the neural activity associated with previously examined goods and preference measures.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

(a) Choice probabilities of subjects for each payment card range did not vary significantly across any and all repetitions that were randomly interleaved across the behavioral session. (b) Correlations between alternative measures of environmental preferences. An extended sample (N = 15) submitted bids and choices in addition to the payment card with the exact same environmental proposals as a measure of consistency. Left: Correlation between mean WTP willingness-to-pay and mean BDM bid for each proposal (r = 0.55, p < 0.01). Right: Correlation between mean willingness-to-pay for each proposal and choices observed (r = 0.39, p < 0.01) between environmental proposals.
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pone.0132842.g004: (a) Choice probabilities of subjects for each payment card range did not vary significantly across any and all repetitions that were randomly interleaved across the behavioral session. (b) Correlations between alternative measures of environmental preferences. An extended sample (N = 15) submitted bids and choices in addition to the payment card with the exact same environmental proposals as a measure of consistency. Left: Correlation between mean WTP willingness-to-pay and mean BDM bid for each proposal (r = 0.55, p < 0.01). Right: Correlation between mean willingness-to-pay for each proposal and choices observed (r = 0.39, p < 0.01) between environmental proposals.

Mentions: Our preference-elicitation measures yielded four different behavioral response types from which we could aggregate and associate with the neural data. To assess the reliability (i.e., consistency of subjects making the same response across repeated measurements) with which subjects reported the values for the CV payment cards, we computed the probabilities of a “yes” response across each of the repeated presentations of each of the payment cards during the behavioral valuation session (subjects were presented with payment cards with different ranges of cost interleaved with all other methods, repeated three times for each cost interval). Fig 4a shows that the probability of a “yes” response did not change significantly across any and all repetitions of the same payment card. The validity of the payment card responses was additionally supported by data from a subset of individuals (N = 15) who responded with choices and bids toward identical proposals after the experiment. In this investigation, subjects performed an additional final behavioral valuation task that involved choosing between, and bidding on, the same environmental proposals (after having completed the payment cards for the same proposals and other preference measures for their respective goods). The resulting responses were highly correlated irrespective of the response format of the environmental survey (Fig 4b). Since the other three behavioral methods have been widely studied by neuroscientists, we did not attempt to establish their reliability in the present study.


The Measurement of Subjective Value and Its Relation to Contingent Valuation and Environmental Public Goods.

Khaw MW, Grab DA, Livermore MA, Vossler CA, Glimcher PW - PLoS ONE (2015)

(a) Choice probabilities of subjects for each payment card range did not vary significantly across any and all repetitions that were randomly interleaved across the behavioral session. (b) Correlations between alternative measures of environmental preferences. An extended sample (N = 15) submitted bids and choices in addition to the payment card with the exact same environmental proposals as a measure of consistency. Left: Correlation between mean WTP willingness-to-pay and mean BDM bid for each proposal (r = 0.55, p < 0.01). Right: Correlation between mean willingness-to-pay for each proposal and choices observed (r = 0.39, p < 0.01) between environmental proposals.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4519262&req=5

pone.0132842.g004: (a) Choice probabilities of subjects for each payment card range did not vary significantly across any and all repetitions that were randomly interleaved across the behavioral session. (b) Correlations between alternative measures of environmental preferences. An extended sample (N = 15) submitted bids and choices in addition to the payment card with the exact same environmental proposals as a measure of consistency. Left: Correlation between mean WTP willingness-to-pay and mean BDM bid for each proposal (r = 0.55, p < 0.01). Right: Correlation between mean willingness-to-pay for each proposal and choices observed (r = 0.39, p < 0.01) between environmental proposals.
Mentions: Our preference-elicitation measures yielded four different behavioral response types from which we could aggregate and associate with the neural data. To assess the reliability (i.e., consistency of subjects making the same response across repeated measurements) with which subjects reported the values for the CV payment cards, we computed the probabilities of a “yes” response across each of the repeated presentations of each of the payment cards during the behavioral valuation session (subjects were presented with payment cards with different ranges of cost interleaved with all other methods, repeated three times for each cost interval). Fig 4a shows that the probability of a “yes” response did not change significantly across any and all repetitions of the same payment card. The validity of the payment card responses was additionally supported by data from a subset of individuals (N = 15) who responded with choices and bids toward identical proposals after the experiment. In this investigation, subjects performed an additional final behavioral valuation task that involved choosing between, and bidding on, the same environmental proposals (after having completed the payment cards for the same proposals and other preference measures for their respective goods). The resulting responses were highly correlated irrespective of the response format of the environmental survey (Fig 4b). Since the other three behavioral methods have been widely studied by neuroscientists, we did not attempt to establish their reliability in the present study.

Bottom Line: The activations associated with the traditional classes of goods replicate previous correlations between neural activity in valuation areas and behavioral preferences.In contrast, CV-elicited values for environmental proposals did not correlate with brain activity at either the individual or population level.For a sub-population of participants, CV-elicited values were correlated with activity within the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, a region associated with cognitive control and shifting decision strategies.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York City, New York, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Environmental public goods--including national parks, clean air/water, and ecosystem services--provide substantial benefits on a global scale. These goods have unique characteristics in that they are typically "nonmarket" goods, with values from both use and passive use that accrue to a large number of individuals both in current and future generations. In this study, we test the hypothesis that neural signals in areas correlated with subjective valuations for essentially all other previously studied categories of goods (ventromedial prefrontal cortex and ventral striatum) also correlate with environmental valuations. We use contingent valuation (CV) as our behavioral tool for measuring valuations of environmental public goods. CV is a standard stated preference approach that presents survey respondents with information on an issue and asks questions that help policymakers determine how much citizens are willing to pay for a public good or policy. We scanned human subjects while they viewed environmental proposals, along with three other classes of goods. The presentation of all four classes of goods yielded robust and similar patterns of temporally synchronized brain activation within attentional networks. The activations associated with the traditional classes of goods replicate previous correlations between neural activity in valuation areas and behavioral preferences. In contrast, CV-elicited values for environmental proposals did not correlate with brain activity at either the individual or population level. For a sub-population of participants, CV-elicited values were correlated with activity within the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex, a region associated with cognitive control and shifting decision strategies. The results show that neural activity associated with the subjective valuation of environmental proposals differs profoundly from the neural activity associated with previously examined goods and preference measures.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus