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Cognitive Abilities and Behavioral Biases

Listed author(s):
  • Oechssler, Jörg
  • Roider, Andreas
  • Schmitz, Patrick W.

We use a simple, three-item test for cognitive abilities to investigate whether established behavioral biases that play a prominent role in behavioral economics and finance are related to cognitive abilities. We find that higher test scores on the Cognitive Reflection Test of Frederick (2005) indeed are correlated with lower incidences of the conjunction fallacy, conservatism in updating probabil-ities, and overconfidence. Test scores are also significantly related to subjects' time and risk preferences. We find no influence on anchoring. However, even if biases are lower for people with higher cognitive abilities, they still remain substantial.

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Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0465.

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Date of creation: 12 May 2009
Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:0465
Note: This paper is part of http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/volltextserver/view/schriftenreihen/sr-3.html
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  1. Christelis, Dimitris & Jappelli, Tullio & Padula, Mario, 2010. "Cognitive abilities and portfolio choice," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 18-38, January.
  2. Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. " Does the Stock Market Rationally Reflect Fundamental Values?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 41(3), pages 591-601, July.
  3. Thomas Dohmen & Armin Falk & David Huffman & Uwe Sunde, 2010. "Are Risk Aversion and Impatience Related to Cognitive Ability?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(3), pages 1238-1260, June.
  4. Mathias Drehmann & Jörg Oechssler & Andreas Roider, 2005. "Herding and Contrarian Behavior in Financial Markets: An Internet Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1403-1426, December.
  5. Jörg Oechssler & Andreas Roider & Patrick W. Schmitz, 2015. "Cooling Off in Negotiations: Does it Work?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 171(4), pages 565-588, December.
  6. De Long, J Bradford & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers & Robert J. Waldmann, 1990. "Noise Trader Risk in Financial Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 703-738, August.
  7. Drehmann, Mathias & Oechssler, Jorg & Roider, Andreas, 2007. "Herding with and without payoff externalities -- an internet experiment," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 391-415, April.
  8. Brañas-Garza, Pablo & Guillen, Pablo & del Paso, Rafael López, 2008. "Math skills and risk attitudes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 332-336, May.
  9. Barberis, Nicholas & Thaler, Richard, 2003. "A survey of behavioral finance," Handbook of the Economics of Finance,in: G.M. Constantinides & M. Harris & R. M. Stulz (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Finance, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1053-1128 Elsevier.
  10. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1997. " The Limits of Arbitrage," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 35-55, March.
  11. Shane Frederick, 2005. "Cognitive Reflection and Decision Making," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 25-42, Fall.
  12. Shleifer, Andrei, 2000. "Inefficient Markets: An Introduction to Behavioral Finance," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292272.
  13. Abreu, Dilip & Brunnermeier, Markus K., 2002. "Synchronization risk and delayed arbitrage," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 341-360.
  14. Daniel J. Benjamin & Sebastian A. Brown & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2013. "Who Is ‘Behavioral’? Cognitive Ability And Anomalous Preferences," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11(6), pages 1231-1255, December.
  15. Gary Charness & Dan Levin, 2009. "The Origin of the Winner's Curse: A Laboratory Study," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 207-236, February.
  16. Charness, Gary B & Levin, Dan & Karni, Edi, 2008. "On the Conjunction Fallacy in Probability Judgment: New Experimental Evidence," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt2dn4t727, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  17. Slonim, Robert & Carlson, James & Bettinger, Eric, 2007. "Possession and discounting behavior," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 97(3), pages 215-221, December.
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