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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) Average willingness-to-pay computed from behavioral responses in BDM auction for consumer goods and payment card responses for environmental proposals (error bars indicates ± s.e. of the mean). (b) Average change in percent BOLD response following the presentation of consumer goods or environmental proposals. (c) The correlation for BDM-consumer goods pairs is significant (r = 0.88, p < 0.05), in contrast to the neural correlation for CV of the environmental proposals (r = 0.34, p = 0.51).
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pone.0132842.g008: (a) Average willingness-to-pay computed from behavioral responses in BDM auction for consumer goods and payment card responses for environmental proposals (error bars indicates ± s.e. of the mean). (b) Average change in percent BOLD response following the presentation of consumer goods or environmental proposals. (c) The correlation for BDM-consumer goods pairs is significant (r = 0.88, p < 0.05), in contrast to the neural correlation for CV of the environmental proposals (r = 0.34, p = 0.51).

Mentions: Fig 8a shows, as a population, how much subjects report valuing each of these goods—with the environmental goods receiving much higher valuations on average. Based on previous findings that an increase in the BOLD signal within the vmPFC is correlated with increases in preferred-ness (Levy et al., 2011), we analyzed the peak activations from the vmPFC when subjects viewed both classes of goods. Within the 6–10 s interval that was analyzed earlier, the time point of 8 s after stimuli onset yielded the greatest percent BOLD signal increase (on average) across both categories. We rank-ordered these average changes in BOLD signal in Fig 8b. Note that environmental goods yield consistently lower mean activations than snack foods despite the greater monetary values placed on these goods during the CV procedure. In Fig 8c, we compare these averaged changes in signal and valuations directly; a positive and significant correlation was observed between value and activation for snack foods in this canonical valuation ROI, but a markedly weaker relationship obtained for CV-evaluated environmental public goods.


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) Average willingness-to-pay computed from behavioral responses in BDM auction for consumer goods and payment card responses for environmental proposals (error bars indicates ± s.e. of the mean). (b) Average change in percent BOLD response following the presentation of consumer goods or environmental proposals. (c) The correlation for BDM-consumer goods pairs is significant (r = 0.88, p < 0.05), in contrast to the neural correlation for CV of the environmental proposals (r = 0.34, p = 0.51).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0132842.g008: (a) Average willingness-to-pay computed from behavioral responses in BDM auction for consumer goods and payment card responses for environmental proposals (error bars indicates ± s.e. of the mean). (b) Average change in percent BOLD response following the presentation of consumer goods or environmental proposals. (c) The correlation for BDM-consumer goods pairs is significant (r = 0.88, p < 0.05), in contrast to the neural correlation for CV of the environmental proposals (r = 0.34, p = 0.51).
Mentions: Fig 8a shows, as a population, how much subjects report valuing each of these goods—with the environmental goods receiving much higher valuations on average. Based on previous findings that an increase in the BOLD signal within the vmPFC is correlated with increases in preferred-ness (Levy et al., 2011), we analyzed the peak activations from the vmPFC when subjects viewed both classes of goods. Within the 6–10 s interval that was analyzed earlier, the time point of 8 s after stimuli onset yielded the greatest percent BOLD signal increase (on average) across both categories. We rank-ordered these average changes in BOLD signal in Fig 8b. Note that environmental goods yield consistently lower mean activations than snack foods despite the greater monetary values placed on these goods during the CV procedure. In Fig 8c, we compare these averaged changes in signal and valuations directly; a positive and significant correlation was observed between value and activation for snack foods in this canonical valuation ROI, but a markedly weaker relationship obtained for CV-evaluated environmental public goods.

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