Relationship value and economic value are evaluated by the same part of the brain — ScienceDaily

Wishing a friend happy birthday or spending a long period of time listening to their problems signifies commitment to the friendship. In other words, these actions serve as commitment signals (*1) and it is known that people value their relationships more with others who behave this way towards them.

Researchers from several Japanese universities have revealed that the orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for calculating economic value, is also responsible for judging the value of relationships with friends based on the received commitment signals.

The research group consisted of Professor OHTSUBO Yohsuke (Graduate School of Humanities, Kobe University), Professor OHIRA Hideki (Graduate School of Informatics, Nagoya University), Aichi Medical University’s Lecturer MATSUNAGA Masahiro (and the Department of Health and Psychosocial Medicine research team), and Lecturer HIMICHI Toshiyuki (Kochi University of Technology).

These findings were published in the online edition of ‘Social Neuroscience’ on September 25.

Main Points

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Economist evaluated Swiss unemployment insurance data — ScienceDaily

Everyone has to call in sick at work at some point. With caseworkers at the employment office, however, a sudden absence has direct economic consequences for a third party: The people they support are unemployed on average five percent longer if a meeting is canceled, which corresponds to a period of twelve days. This may sound rather trivial, but it can entail considerable costs for both the welfare state and the individual concerned.

Amelie Schiprowski, economist of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute at the Universities of Cologne and Bonn (Germany), evaluated Swiss unemployment insurance data from 2010 to 2012 and investigated how much the personal interaction with caseworkers matters for unemployed individuals. She found out: The duration of unemployment depends to a large extent on how reliable and committed the support provided by the employment office is.

Regular support important for reintegration

Caseworkers at the employment office help to reintegrate

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