The Brain as the Original Accounting Institution

Document Type


Publication Date



The evolved brain neuronally processed information on human interaction long before the development of formal accounting institutions. Could the neuronal processes represent the underpinnings of the accounting principles that exist today? This question is pursued several ways: first as an examination of parallel structures that exist between the brain and accounting principles, second as an explanation of why such parallels might exist, and third as an explicit description of a paradigm that shows how the benefits of an accounting procedure can emerge in an experiment.


This article was originally published in The Accounting Review, volume 84, issue 6, in 2009.

The link above is to the authoritative publisher’s version, as noted by the Economic Science Institute, and may reside behind a paywall. If denied access, Chapman students, faculty, and staff should try this link.

Peer Reviewed



American Accounting Association