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Using Neural Data to Test a Theory of Investor Behavior: An Application to Realization Utility

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  • CARY FRYDMAN
  • NICHOLAS BARBERIS
  • COLIN CAMERER
  • PETER BOSSAERTS
  • ANTONIO RANGEL

Abstract

type="main"> We conduct a study in which subjects trade stocks in an experimental market while we measure their brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging. All of the subjects trade in a suboptimal way. We use the neural data to test a “realization utility” explanation for their behavior. We find that activity in two areas of the brain that are important for economic decision-making exhibit activity consistent with the predictions of realization utility. These results provide support for the realization utility model. More generally, they demonstrate that neural data can be helpful in testing models of investor behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Cary Frydman & Nicholas Barberis & Colin Camerer & Peter Bossaerts & Antonio Rangel, 2014. "Using Neural Data to Test a Theory of Investor Behavior: An Application to Realization Utility," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 69(2), pages 907-946, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jfinan:v:69:y:2014:i:2:p:907-946
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/jofi.12126
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    1. repec:eee:gamebe:v:111:y:2018:i:c:p:100-121 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Matteo Ploner, 2017. "Hold on to it? An experimental analysis of the disposition effect," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 12(2), pages 118-127, March.
    3. Gibson, Rajna & Sohn, Matthias & Tanner, Carmen & Wagner, Alexander F, 2018. "Investing in managerial honesty," CEPR Discussion Papers 13207, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Anagol, Santosh & Balasubramaniam, Vimal & Ramadorai, Tarun, 2018. "Learning from Noise: Evidence from India's IPO Lotteries," CEPR Discussion Papers 13314, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Caginalp, Gunduz & DeSantis, Mark, 2017. "Does price efficiency increase with trading volume? Evidence of nonlinearity and power laws in ETFs," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 467(C), pages 436-452.
    6. Michael J. Seiler & Eric Walden, 2015. "A Neurological Explanation of Strategic Mortgage Default," Artefactual Field Experiments 00632, The Field Experiments Website.
    7. David Hirshleife, 2015. "Behavioral Finance," Annual Review of Financial Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 7(1), pages 133-159, December.
    8. Brice Corgnet & Mark DeSantis & David Porter, 2015. "What Makes a Good Trader? On the Role of Quant Skills, Behavioral Biases and Intuition on Trader Performance," Working Papers 15-17, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    9. Bansal, Avijit & Jacob, Joshy, 2018. "Impact of Price Path on Disposition Bias," IIMA Working Papers WP 2018-10-01, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, Research and Publication Department.
    10. Brice Corgnet & Mark Desantis & David Porter, 2016. "What Makes a Good Trader? On the Role of Intuition and Reflection on Trader Performance," Working Papers halshs-01364432, HAL.
    11. Carlos Cueva Herrero & Iñigo Iturbe-Ormaetxe Kortajarene & Giovanni Ponti & Josefa Tomás Lucas, 2016. "The disposition effect: who and when?," Working Papers. Serie AD 2016-01, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    12. Li, Jianbiao & Niu, Xiaofei & Li, Dahui & Cao, Qian, 2018. "Using Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation to Test the Role of Self-Control in Investor Behavior," EconStor Preprints 177890, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    13. repec:kap:jbuset:v:144:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3312-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Ramiah, Vikash & Xu, Xiaoming & Moosa, Imad A., 2015. "Neoclassical finance, behavioral finance and noise traders: A review and assessment of the literature," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 89-100.
    15. Hsiaw, Alice, 2018. "Goal bracketing and self-control," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 100-121.
    16. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-18-00241 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Goulart, Marco & da Costa, Newton C.A. & Andrade, Eduardo B. & Santos, André A.P., 2015. "Hedging against embarrassment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 310-318.
    18. Li, Jennifer & Massa, Massimo & Zhang, Hong, 2016. "Culture vs. Bias: Can Social Trust Mitigate the Disposition Effect?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11474, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Peiran Jiao & Amos Nadler, 2016. "The Bull of Wall Street: Experimental Analysis of Testosterone and Asset Trading," Economics Series Working Papers 806, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    20. Michael Seiler & Eric Walden, 2015. "A Neurological Explanation of Strategic Mortgage Default," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 215-230, August.
    21. repec:eee:pacfin:v:43:y:2017:i:c:p:188-199 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Brice Corgnet & Mark DeSantis & David Porter, 2018. "The Distribution of Information and the Price Efficiency of Markets," Working Papers 18-09, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    23. Frydman, Cary & Rangel, Antonio, 2014. "Debiasing the disposition effect by reducing the saliency of information about a stock's purchase price," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PB), pages 541-552.
    24. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-González & Praveen Kujal, 2018. "On Booms That Never Bust: Ambiguity in Experimental Asset Markets with Bubbles," Working Papers 1825, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.

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