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Perspective ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Behav. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00077

Economic Holobiont: Influence of Parasites, Microbiota and Chemosignals on Economic Behavior

 Petr Houdek1, 2, 3*
  • 1Department of Management, University of Economics, Prague, Czechia
  • 2Department of Economics, Jan Evangelista Purkyne University in Ústí nad Labem, Czechia
  • 3Center for Behavioral Experiments (CEBEX), Czechia

The article is a perspective on utilization of microorganisms and chemosignals in studying human economic behavior. Research in biological roots of economic development has already confirmed that parasitic pressure influenced the creation and development of cultural norms and institutions. However, other effects of microorganisms on human groups and individual decision-making and behavior are heavily understudied. The perspective discusses how parasitic infections, sexually transmitted organisms, and microbiota (i.e. “human holobiont”) could causally influence risk-seeking behavior, impulsivity, social dominance, empathy, political views, and gender differences. As a case study, the parasite Toxoplasma gondii and its influence on economic preferences, personal characteristics, and human appearance are examined. I also briefly review how chemosignals influence decision-making, particularly in the social preferences domain. I mention some predictions that arise from the paradigm of economic holobiont for the economic science. The conclusion summarizes limitations of the discussed findings and the stated speculations.

Keywords: microbiota, Chemosignaling, Toxoplasma gondii, Parasites, judgement, decision-making, risk preferences, Time preferences, social preferences, Economics

Received: 19 Jun 2017; Accepted: 09 Apr 2018.

Edited by:

Nuno Sousa, Instituto de Pesquisa em Ciências da Vida e da Saúde (ICVS), Portugal

Reviewed by:

Susana Roque, University of Minho, Portugal
Maria CUBEL, Brunel University London, United Kingdom  

Copyright: © 2018 Houdek. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Petr Houdek, University of Economics, Prague, Department of Management, Prague, Czechia, petr.houdek@gmail.com