Despite criticism from some quarters, Neuroeconomics has now become a well-established field of academic study (with dedicated research departments at New York University, Duke University, and Claremont Graduate University). A logical extension of the field, however, remains considerably less mainstream – Neuroaccounting.

To draw attention to this shortcoming, a recent paper from Jacob G. Birnberg, the Robert W. Murphy Jr. Professor of Management Control Systems Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business, and Ananda Ganguly, Ph.D. the Morcos Massoud Associate Professor of Accounting at the Robert Day School of Economics and Finance, Claremont McKenna College, asks :Is Neuroaccounting Waiting in the Wings? (Claremont McKenna College Robert Day School of Economics and Finance Research Paper, No. 2011-01).

The authors present a review of the current progress in Behavioral Accounting Research (BAR), which involves “studying the human mind” (in accountancy settings) and with special reference to the workings of “the black box” – i.e. the human brain. And there are suggestions too for possible experimental research projects with accountants.

“ … technologies such as transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tcDCS) and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), together with the availability of presumably harmless (or at least permissible) drugs and synthetic hormones which can be administered to implement experimental manipulations on the brain have opened the brain up to experimentation in a way unimaginable twenty years ago.”

The team point, however, to possible future hurdles -

“Given the difficulty in performing a ‘neuroaccounting’ study relative to the early laboratory experiments in BAR, the volume of neuroaccounting research is likely to be small.”