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The Psychophysiology of Real-Time Financial Risk Processing

Author

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  • Andrew W. Lo
  • Dmitry V. Repin

Abstract

A longstanding controversy in economics and finance is whether financial markets are governed by rational forces or by emotional responses. We study the importance of emotion in the decisionmaking process of professional securities traders by measuring their physiological characteristics, e.g., skin conductance, blood volume pulse, etc., during live trading sessions while simultaneously capturing real-time prices from which market events can be defined. In a sample of 10 traders, we find significant correlation between electrodermal responses and transient market events, and between changes in cardiovascular variables and market volatility. We also observe differences in these correlations among the 10 traders which may be systematically related to the traders' levels of experience.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew W. Lo & Dmitry V. Repin, 2001. "The Psychophysiology of Real-Time Financial Risk Processing," NBER Working Papers 8508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8508
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gervais, Simon & Odean, Terrance, 2001. "Learning to be Overconfident," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 14(1), pages 1-27.
    2. Terrance Odean, 1998. "Are Investors Reluctant to Realize Their Losses?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1775-1798, October.
    3. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    4. De Bondt, Werner F M & Thaler, Richard, 1985. " Does the Stock Market Overreact?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 793-805, July.
    5. Jon Elster, 1998. "Emotions and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 47-74, March.
    6. Shefrin, Hersh & Statman, Meir, 1985. " The Disposition to Sell Winners Too Early and Ride Losers Too Long: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 40(3), pages 777-790, July.
    7. Gur Huberman, 2001. "Contagious Speculation and a Cure for Cancer: A Nonevent that Made Stock Prices Soar," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 56(1), pages 387-396, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Falato, Antonio, 2009. "Happiness maintenance and asset prices," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 1247-1262, June.
    2. Anya Krivelyova & Cesare Robotti, 2003. "Playing the field: Geomagnetic storms and international stock markets," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2003-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
    3. Lucy F. Ackert & Bryan K. Church & Richard Deaves, 2003. "Emotion and financial markets," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q2, pages 33-41.
    4. Dowling, Michael & Lucey, Brian M., 2005. "Weather, biorhythms, beliefs and stock returns--Some preliminary Irish evidence," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 337-355.
    5. Melo, L, 2010. "Earth magnetism and the economic behavior," MPRA Paper 21656, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Dr. Peter Kenning & Hilke Plassmann, 2004. "NeuroEconomics," Experimental 0412005, EconWPA.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading

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