Anxiety, adrenaline and automation

I am delighted to introduce a guest blog by Kevin Rodgers, formerly global head of foreign exchange at Deutsche Bank, with an impressive career in trading. Kevin is also the author of a great new book which charts the major changes in investment banking ‘Why aren’t they shouting?’, not to mention a pretty good opera singer.

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‘The heart has its reasons’: emotions and cognition in the world of finance

Let’s call him James, a trader in a City investment bank; young, smartly dressed, confident, and a little impatient. He sat across from me in the interview: “It’s really important to stay cool. For myself, I can say that I really don’t have much emotion while I trade”. Half an hour later, as he relaxed […]

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On fund-managers, rats and hermit crabs: reversion to familiar habits under stress

Hermit crabs rely on acquiring discarded shells for their protection and are constantly on the look-out for better shells. However, faced with environmental stress they prefer to stick with their old shell, however unsuitable, than risk moving to a new one[i]. Experiments with rats show that under stress habitual behaviour persists longer in the face […]

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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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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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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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