The brain, human behavior, and accounting

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Accounting is essential to market economies, setting up what is basically a moral code for financial transactions. Drawing from new and related research, Gregory B. Waymire, Asa Griggs Candler professor of accounting, argues that accounting does have a moral basis because it is designed to encourage and promote ethical behavior. To support the point, he used existing functional MRI research showing how the brain responds to accounting information. Studies show a clear link between earnings news and increased brain activity, as well as accounting information and changes in human behavior. Waymire notes that accounting has the ability to create trust in economic exchange and establishes a way to benefit from it. Additional neuroscience research will play a critical role in furthering our understanding of the relationship between accounting and human behavior. The research is particularly salient for auditors as they work to improve investor trust.