CANE: Cognition and Neuroeconomics Lab


John Chalmers, UO Finance

Bill Harbaugh, UO Economics

Ulrich Mayr, UO Psychology

Grad Students:

Dan Burghart, Dave Wozniak

Undergraduate RAs:

Ben Brookins, Ben Bushong, Luke Phillips


  • Yellow: activates with $ to subject
  • Blue : activates with $ to charity
  • Green: overlap, activates with both

"Neural Responses to Taxation and Voluntary Giving Reveal Motives for Charitable Donations."

William Harbaugh, Ulrich Mayr, Dan Burghart. Science, June 15, 2007.

The image shows that money for oneself and money for the charity activate very similar reward related areas of the brain. Individual differences in these activations help predict who will give voluntarily. Brain activation is higher when people give voluntarily than when they are taxed - but funding for the public good is lower.

Download full text.

See commentary in the London Times, New York Times and New Zealand Farm News.