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What goes on inside my brain when I think about money?
Discussions of neuroeconomics and the psychology of investing.

Jason's Answers

Benjamin Graham, the Human Brain, and the Bubble
10/01/2003: “Boom and Bust,” a volume of guest essays published by the European Asset Management Association (see pp. 160-164 in the PDF link below, or 145-149 in the print edition)
This article combines the insights of Ben Graham with the newest discoveries in neuroscience to shed light on the manic-depressive market of the past few years.

Is Your Brain Wired to Make You Rich? The Neuroscience of Financial Decision-Making
03/01/2003: Hoover Institution
This speech, which Jason presented at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, is a shorter and simpler version of a talk he gave earlier to the CFA Institute in 2002 [see May 14, 2002]. It’s an overview of how the human brain goes about making investment decisions – complete with colorful graphics of neurons firing away. [See also October, 2002.]

Are you wired for wealth?
10/01/2002: Money Magazine
What goes on inside your brain when you invest? Here’s how the latest breakthroughs in neuroscience can help make you smarter – and richer. [See also May 14, 2002 and March 18, 2003.]

Money and the Mind: How Neuroscientists Are Cracking the Code of Investment Behavior
Jason explains the exciting new insights into financial decision-making that are coming from groundbreaking research in neuroscience. This presentation, to the annual meeting of the Association for Investment Management & Research, outlines the roles that different parts of the human brain play in estimating probabilities, assessing risk and reward, and integrating emotion with reason. [See also October, 2002, and March 18, 2003]

The Trouble With Humans
11/01/2000: Money Magazine, Vol. 29 No. 12
A look at the neuroscience of investing: Why rats and pigeons might make better investors than people do.

“Expert Q&A”
08/01/1999: morningstar.com
In this online chat, Jason fields questions from Morningstar users about everything from stock-picking “systems” to index funds, how and why to use a broker, investing in corporate bankruptcies, saving for college, the fine points of bond funds, and the ethics of financial journalism. [Conversation 676: in the “Jump to #” box, enter 676]

The neuroscience of investing
01/01/2003: CNN "Moneyline" with Lou Dobbs
An overview of the neural pathways your brain uses to make decisions about money.

When the Stock Market Plunges...Will You Be Brave, or Will You Cave?
01/01/1997: Money Magazine
An exploration of the psychology of investment risk.

Why You Should Ignore Stock Prices
12/01/2006: Money Magazine
A look at the baffling question of why the price of an average share of stock has not budged in decades.

The Thrill Is Wrong
02/01/2006: Money Magazine
A survey of the new field of neuroeconomics, showing how expecting to make money is more intense than experiencing it.

You Can Handle a Crash Better than You Think
05/01/2007: Money Magazine
Why the fear of losing money usually feels worse than actually losing it.

The Right Way to Handle a Surprise
06/01/2007: Money Magazine
Why a one-penny shortfall in earnings makes Wall Street go crazy, and how to keep yourself sane.

Why We Stay Home and Why It`s a Bad Idea
07/01/2007: Money Magazine
It`s human nature to feel at ease with what`s familiar. But in investing, comfort can cost you a lot of money.

Master of the Imperfect Mind
09/01/2007: Money Magazine
An interview on behavioral finance with the Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman.

Your Money and Your Brain
09/01/2007: Money Magazine
An excerpt on the neuroeconomics of greed and fear from Jason Zweig`s new book.

Why Is It So Hard to Save?
03/01/2008: Money Magazine
New research in neuroeconomics explores how the investing brain sizes up the long-term future.

How to Control Your Fears in a Fearsome Market
07/19/2008: The Wall Street Journal
Discoveries in neuroscience that can help investors think more clearly

Should You Fear the Ostrich Effect?
09/13/2008: The Wall Street Journal
Bulls and bears aren`t alone in the menagerie; we`re all ostriches now.

For Investors, Dealing with a Loss of Control
10/07/2008: The Wall Street Journal
How uncertainty and panic mess with your investing mind.

Take a Deep Breath, Turn off the TV, Calm Yourself
10/18/2008: The Wall Street Journal
Advice and techniques for controlling fear in a fearsome time.

Financial Pressure Is a Family-Room Topic, Too
12/27/2008: The Wall Street Journal
How families can manage the stress of financial losses and economic pressures.

As Stock Losses Loom, Don’t Throw a ‘Hail Mary’
02/21/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Why desperate investors do desperate things, and how to avoid joining in.

Is Your Investing Personality in Your DNA?
04/04/2009: The Wall Street Journal
What the emerging science of genoeconomics can tell us about investing.

About Time: Regulation Based on Human Nature
06/20/2009: The Wall Street Journal
At long last, behavioral economics comes to Washington.

Using the Lottery Effect to Make People Save
07/18/2009: The Wall Street Journal
How a combination of a lotto ticket and a CD has helped raise savings among the working poor.

Why Do Investors Sit Tight in 401(k)?
09/05/2009: The Wall Street Journal
A look at sitting bulls: the 401(k) investors who buy stocks and then never sell.

What a Bear Market Might Teach Us
11/25/2008: The Wall Street Journal Online
A blog post on how hard times might change America for the better.

Financial Crisis Has an Upside: ‘The Joy of Schadenfreude’
02/12/2009: The Wall Street Journal Online
A blog post on the neuroscience of seeing the rich suffer.

Inside the Madoff Scandal
03/12/2009: The Wall Street Journal Online
An online video investigation of Bernard L. Madoff`s Ponzi scheme.

This Is Your Brain on Investment Advice
03/31/2009: The Wall Street Journal Online
A blog post on the neuroscience of taking financial advice from an `expert.`

Painless Spending Can Hurt Pocketbooks
09/25/2009: Public Radio
A chat with Tess Vigeland of Public Radio`s ``Marketplace`` on the psychology of credit cards.

Teach Yourself to Be a Better Investor
10/15/2009: Morningstar
An interview with Morningstar’s Christine Benz

How to Ignore the Yes-Man in Your Head
11/14/2009: The Wall Street Journal
Why confirmation bias is such a problem for investors, and what to do about it.

Will We Ever Again Trust Wall Street?
02/06/2010: The Wall Street Journal
What would it take for burned investors to return to the markets?

Behavioral Finance: What Can Investors Learn from Their Mistakes?
02/16/2010: CFA Institute
A video discussion, with Gregory Seals of the CFA Institute, on the pitfalls of risk perception, where investors went wrong, and how Wall Street needs to change. (Free registration required.)

What`s in a Name: If It’s ‘China,’ a Pick-Me-Up
03/20/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Why sticking ‘China’ onto a stock’s name makes it go up.

Full Disclosure: Most Risks Hide in Plain Sight
04/24/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Would better disclosure have discouraged investors from buying from Goldman Sachs?

So That`s Why Investors Can`t Think for Themselves
06/19/2010: The Wall Street Journal
New research in neuroeconomics shows that going along with the crowd is intrinsically rewarding...even if it`s wrong.

Ticker Shock: When a Catchy Stock Symbol Lures Investors
08/14/2010: The Wall Street Journal
You would never buy a stock just because you liked its ticker symbol. Or would you?

What Conflict of Interest? How Power Blinds Us to Our Flaws
10/16/2010: The Wall Street Journal
Why do members of Congress and their aides think there`s nothing wrong with the perception of insider trading on Capitol Hill?

Meet `Future You.` Like What You See?
03/26/2011: The Wall Street Journal
New `virtual reality` techniques could help solve the age-old problem of saving for retirement.

Too Flustered to Trade: A Portrait of the Angry Investor
08/20/2011: The Wall Street Journal
Years of lousy returns have turned investors into horrified bystanders.

Why We Can`t Let Go of Our Losers
10/15/2011: The Wall Street Journal
The neuroeconomics of trying to dump an investment you`ve lost money on.

Insider Trading: Why We Can`t Help Ourselves
04/02/2011: The Wall Street Journal
What blinded Warren Buffett to the conflicts of interest going on under his very nose?

Safe at Home? Not in a 401(k)
11/19/2011: The Wall Street Journal
When the markets get shaky, investors add more money to their own company`s stock.

This Is Your Brain on a Hot Streak
02/11/2012: The Wall Street Journal
What leads investors to fixate on the market\'s short-term return as if it were predictive of the long-term future?

Polishing the Dimon Principle
05/12/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Never forget the words of Richard Feynman: `You must not fool yourself -- and you are the easiest person to fool.`

Is `You` a Good Investment?
05/19/2012: The Wall Street Journal
As Facebook goes public, investors need to bear in mind that loving a company is one thing. Loving the stock is entirely another.

Why We`re Driven to Trade
07/21/2012: The Wall Street Journal
What makes thinking about the longer-term future so hard?

When Will Retail Investors Call It Quits?
08/02/2012: The Wall Street Journal
The latest trading glitch drives another nail into the coffin of many individual investors` enthusiasm for stocks.

Profits Came in Lower Than Expected? Hip, Hip, Hooray!
09/01/2012: The Wall Street Journal
In the latest twist, Wall Street greets bad earnings news and good news for stocks.

This Is Your Brain on Gains
10/28/2011: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
A new study in neuroeconomics helps explain why we learn more from positive surprises than from negative ones.

Can Birds Plan for Retirement?
11/22/2011: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
New experiments in animal behavior show that Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) can defer gratification for days on end.

What Surveys Don`t Know About You
12/07/2011: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Do those surveys of how much consumers will spend during holiday shopping season mean anything?

Keeping Up With the Wangs
12/14/2011: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Judging your investment success by your wealth relative to other people has spread to China.

Who Are You Calling Birdbrain?
02/02/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Our exclusive interview with the racing pigeon that was just auctioned for $328,000.

The Financial Crisis Will Be Over When...
02/13/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
...Americans finally re-embrace one of the virtues that made the country great: thrift.

When Your DNA Dings Your ROI
02/22/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
New research in genoeconomics finds that variations in DNA explain much of the likelihood of making common investing mistakes.

The Financial Wisdom of G.K. Chesterton
03/06/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
What the master of English prose can teach us about the follies of economic forecasting.

`Jumbo Shrimp,` Meet `Sophisticated Investor`
03/28/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
What would George Carlin think of the idea that the markets are full of sophisticated investors?

Keys to Thinking About Keynes
04/03/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Why do people judge Keynes the investor based on their views about Keynes the economist?

Generation Why?
06/27/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
A plea for financial marketers to knock it off with the Generation X, Gen Y and millennial stuff.

I, Robot, Am a Stupid Trader
06/29/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
A British artist launches a computerized fund that invests on the basis of irrational human beliefs.

Stupid Investing Tricks
07/24/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Why people investing on 30-year horizons move their money around based on the latest one-day fluctuations.

Church of England to Bankers: Repent!
09/27/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
`Human sin is a reality that has to be taken account of` -- especially in the financial industry.

There`s Nothing New Under the Sun
10/02/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
The financial crisis of 2008-2009, or the financial crisis of 1890?

The Winner for Investors Is...
10/20/2012: The Wall Street Journal
How much are stock returns affected by which party is in the White House?

Can You Trust Your Stockjobber?
10/30/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
A look back at how people invested from 1690 to 1720 suggests that human nature changes much less than we would like to admit.

Why Buy and Hold Feels Dead
11/07/2012: WSJ Online: Total Return blog
Why, when a patient approach to diversification has worked well, do so many people think it has failed?

Are You Brilliant, or Lucky?
12/08/2012: The Wall Street Journal
Why are investors pouring money into actively managed bond funds despite the massive evidence that bond index funds will do better?

How Huge Returns Mess With Your Mind
01/05/2013: The Wall Street Journal
What makes compound returns so hard for many people to understand, and what to do about that.

Those Losses of 2008 and 2009? Forget About Them!
02/23/2013: The Wall Street Journal
How the investing mind erases bad memories, and what you can do about it.

How to Save More for Retirement Without Really Trying
03/30/2013: The Wall Street Journal
To increase retirement savings, make saving for retirement automatic.

Risky Business: The Quiz That Could Steer You Wrong
05/04/2013: The Wall Street Journal
The typical `risk-tolerance quiz` is garbage. Here`s why -- and what to do about it.

Lesson From Buffett: Doubt Yourself
05/06/2013: The Wall Street Journal
Why would Warren Buffett want to take questions from someone betting against his stock?

Would You Buy a Used Stock From This Market?
11/12/2012: WSJ Total Return Blog
A new survey of investors finds that they think the financial system is still broken.

The Big Corruption in Small Gifts
12/21/2012: WSJ Total Return Blog
Don`t let any financial adviser or journalist tell you that accepting presents `of minimal value` is harmless.

Who`s the Sucker Now?
01/30/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
If individual investors are returning to the U.S. stock market, can a crash be far behind? Sure it can.

Can the Stock Market Kill You?
02/06/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
A new academic study shows that sudden stock-market drops are associated with higher mortality rates.

Are You an Investor or a Speculator? (Part 1)
02/28/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
Why is it so hard to live up to -- and be precise about -- Benjamin Graham`s definition of an investor?

Are You an Investor or a Speculator? (Part 2)
02/28/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
Why is it so hard to live up to -- and be precise about -- Benjamin Graham`s definition of an investor?

Financial Literacy Month Is So Over
05/01/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
Financial literacy is like mom or apple pie. But does it work?

Buffett and the Bear
05/06/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
Further thoughts on why Warren Buffett invited short-seller Doug Kass to ask questions at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting.

Markets and Memory Banks
05/14/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
Why won`t investors get out of the way of the universally predicted collapse of the bond market?

Turnaround Tuesday? Don`t Forget Black Tuesday
05/21/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
How silly is the belief that the stock market has to go up just because it`s Tuesday?

Trust: Easy to Break, Hard to Repair
05/28/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
What would it take for investors to trust Wall Street again?

Goodbye, Booby Tuesday
06/04/2013: WSJ Total Return Blog
The stock market went up 19 Tuesdays in a row -- until today. Good riddance to this `predictable\' event.

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JasonZweig.com is my place to tell you what I think about a whole lot of investing stuff. I’m the only one responsible for my opinions, but I can’t guarantee they’ll always be right. If you don’t like what I say or it turns out to be wrong, I’m sorry; you can’t sue me. The material you find here is not meant as specific investing advice for you, and if you use it that way and something goes wrong, that’s your problem, not mine. To get individualized investing advice, you need to do your own homework or else hire a financial advisor, a tax professional, or a lawyer to do it for you (and even then, you’d better watch like a hawk!). If you think anything on this website is an invitation for you to buy or sell any investment, you need to get your head examined. What’s more, I’m not soliciting business of any kind, because I don’t have any business to solicit. (Believe it or not, I don’t want your money.) I’ll do my best to avoid any conflicts of interest in running this website, but I don’t have silvery wings and a halo, and somebody might manage to corrupt me. If that happens, it’s your job to notice and to be disgusted by it. In short, none of my best efforts to be honest, sensible, and trustworthy exempt you from your constant duties to treat what I say with the same skepticism you should treat anyone’s pontification about investing. I wish you good luck!

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