The Emotional Business of Finance

The video below is a presentation I made at the launch of the Open University Business School‘s Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance (PuFin). You can find a copy of the slides here. Martin Lewis also made a very engaging presentation about financial education at the same event. Further presentations from the event can […]

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Investment, Emotions and the Temple at Delphi*

Can understanding the psychology of investment behaviour help you outperform the market? Probably not, but it can certainly help reduce the probability that you will under-perform the market. This matters, because the majority of private investors under-perform. One compelling piece of research evidence comes from a careful analysis, carried out by Dalbar research, of the […]

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It’s clouds’ illusions I recall . . . trading and the illusion of control

Humans have a great capacity for exercising control over their environment and for detecting patterns in the confusing mass of information they face. This capacity can also mislead; not least in financial markets. Have you ever looked at the clouds and seen faces or the shapes of animals. Did you as a child see monsters […]

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Shopping, impulsiveness and weapons of massive consumption

And I am a weapon of massive consumption And it’s not my fault it’s how I’m programmed to function Lily Allen, The Fear, 2009 The financial crisis that hit us in 2008 has been analysed in great detail by economists and journalists. A good deal of comment, including mine, has focused on the behaviour of bankers and […]

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Lions and lion-shaped bushes in financial markets: traders’ expertise in emotion regulation

ight or flight Imagine you are one of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, walking across the African plains. Or perhaps, in more recent times a Massai tribesman in Kenya. The grass is long in places and punctuated by small trees and bushes. You are carrying no more than a long pointed stick to protect you from dangerous […]

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On the false contrast between rationality and emotion

It is common to contrast emotions with rationality (usually in tandem with proclaiming the superiority of reason over emotion). Take for example this post on the changingminds blog. It is also the claim at the heart of Ayn Rand’s morally barren apologia for the extremes of modern capitalism, ‘Atlas Shrugged‘. In this book she claims […]

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Welcome to the emotional finance blog

Money fractures marriages, drives wars, inspires art, motivates some people to great achievements, leads others to despair. Fear, desire, love, hate, jealousy, anger, anxiety, relief, shame and many more shades of emotion may attach to money in the course of an ordinary day. (Photo credit: @Doug88888) Yet, economic accounts of human financial behaviour focus on […]

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LIBOR, rogue traders and the supply of motivated offenders

A brief trawl of media comment on the banking industry over the last few years suggests that the industry is awash with criminals and fraudsters. The picture of traders, often presented in the press, is of amoral risk-takers with bosses who are always ready to turn a blind eye if profits are being made. There […]

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