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The Influence of Affect on Beliefs, Preferences, and Financial Decisions

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  • Kuhnen, Camelia M.
  • Knutson, Brian

Abstract

Recent research in neuroeconomics suggests that the same brain areas that generate emotional states are also involved in the processing of information about risk, rewards and punishments. These findings imply that emotions may influence financial decisions in a predictable and parsimonious way. Our evidence suggests that affect -- generated either by exogenous manipulations, or endogenously by outcomes of prior actions -- indeed matters for financial risk taking, and that it does so by changing preferences as well as the belief formation process. Positive and arousing emotional states such as excitement induce people to take more risk, and to be more confident in their ability to evaluate the available investment options, relative to neutral states, while negative emotions such as anxiety have the opposite effects. Moreover, beliefs are updated in a way that is consistent with the self-preservation motive of maintaining positive affect and avoiding negative affect, by not fully taking into account new information that is at odds with the individuals' prior choices. Therefore, characteristics of markets, economic policies or organization design that have an impact on emotional brain circuits may influence decision making and affect important outcomes at the individual and aggregate level.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis.

Volume (Year): 46 (2011)
Issue (Month): 03 (June)
Pages: 605-626

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jfinqa:v:46:y:2011:i:03:p:605-626_00

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Cited by:
  1. Hu, Yingyao & Kayaba, Yutaka & Shum, Matthew, 2013. "Nonparametric learning rules from bandit experiments: The eyes have it!," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 215-231.
  2. Luigi Guiso & Paolo Sodini, 2012. "Household Finance. An Emerging Field," EIEF Working Papers Series 1204, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Mar 2012.
  3. Ethan Watson & Mary C. Funck, 2012. "A cloudy day in the market: short selling behavioural bias or trading strategy," International Journal of Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 8(3), pages 238-255.
  4. Luigi Zingales, 2009. "The Future of Securities Regulation," Working Papers 2009.7, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  5. Kuhnen, Camelia M., 2012. "Asymmetric learning from financial information," MPRA Paper 39412, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Sarah Necker & Michael Ziegelmeyer, 2014. "Household Risk Taking after the Financial Crisis," BCL working papers 85, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
  7. Alessandro Bucciol & Luca Zarri, 2013. "Financial Risk Aversion and Personal Life History," Working Papers 05/2013, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
  8. De Silva, Dakshina G. & Pownall, Rachel A.J. & Wolk, Leonard, 2012. "Does the sun ‘shine’ on art prices?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 167-178.
  9. Halko, Marja Liisa & Kaustia, Markku, 2012. "Are risk preferences dynamic? Within-subject variation in risk-taking as a function of background music," CFS Working Paper Series 2012/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  10. James A. Sundali & Gregory R. Stone & Federico L. Guerrero, 2012. "The effect of setting goals and emotions on asset allocation decisions," Managerial Finance, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 38(11), pages 1008-1031, November.
  11. Alain Cohn & Jan Engelmann & Ernst Fehr & Michel Maréchal, 2013. "Evidence for countercyclical risk aversion: an experiment with financial professionals," UBSCENTER - Working Papers 004, UBS International Center of Economics in Society - Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  12. Gambetti, Elisa & Giusberti, Fiorella, 2012. "The effect of anger and anxiety traits on investment decisions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1059-1069.
  13. Kaustia, Markku & Rantapuska, Elias, 2013. "Does mood affect trading behavior?," SAFE Working Paper Series 4, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
  14. Cary Frydman & Nicholas Barberis & Colin Camerer & Peter Bossaerts & Antonio Rangel, 2012. "Using Neural Data to Test a Theory of Investor Behavior: An Application to Realization Utility," NBER Working Papers 18562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Sonsino, Doron & Regev, Eran, 2013. "Informational overconfidence in return prediction – More properties," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 72-84.

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