What is Behavioral Finance? The seven classic theories of Behavioral Finance.


Behavioral finance examines the influence of psychology on financial decisions, revealing irrational biases. It shows that emotions and cognitive biases often guide investments more than rational thinking.

What is Behavioral Finance?

Behavioral Finance is a field that examines the impact of psychology and behavior science on financial decisions. It explores the irrational and biased behaviors humans display in the financial realm, attempting to explain why people deviate from rationality in financial decision-making. Behavioral finance suggests that people are often influenced by emotions, cognitive biases, social factors, and personal psychology when making investment decisions, rather than solely based on rational and logical considerations.

It studies investors' perception of risk and reward, decision-making biases, psychological drivers of market fluctuations, and the impact of investor behavior on market trends. The goal of behavioral finance is to provide a more accurate description and explanation of financial markets and investor behavior to help people make more rational financial decisions.

7 Classic Theories of Behavioral Finance

Behavioral finance involves several classic theories and concepts, here are seven common ones:

  1. Perception Biases: People's perceptions and cognitions are often influenced by subjective biases, such as overconfidence, excessive optimism, or excessive pessimism.
  2. Behavioral Biases: Investors exhibit systematic biases in their decision-making process, such as overtrading, herd behavior, loss aversion, etc.
  3. Social Contagion Effect: Investors influence each other in a group, leading to phenomena like excessive buying or selling, i.e., collective irrational behavior.
  4. Choice Polarization: People tend to make conservative choices when faced with risks and adventurous choices when there are potential gains, leading to polarization in choices.
  5. Information Cascade Effect: In decision-making, people tend to rely on the behavior and opinions of others, ignoring their own information and judgment, thus forming an information cascade effect.
  6. Affinity Bias: Investors show more preference for investment subjects they are familiar with or emotionally inclined towards, ignoring other potentially more valuable investment opportunities.
  7. Financial Mental Accounting: People tend to divide their funds into different accounts, such as savings accounts, investment accounts, and daily expense accounts, with different biases and rules potentially applying to each account.

These theories and concepts provide a framework for understanding investor behavior and the irrational factors of markets, helping to more comprehensively analyze and explain financial market phenomena and trends.

Behavioral Finance Case Study

Here is an example of a case study in behavioral finance:

Case Study: Loss Aversion Leading to Investment Decision Bias

Assume two investors, Investor A and Investor B, encounter the same situation when buying a particular stock: both of their investments incur some losses.

Investor A reacts to the loss very emotionally and conservatively. Due to the psychological effect of loss aversion, he fears further loss and decides to sell the stock immediately, realizing the loss to avoid further pain. This decision may be based on emotion rather than rationality, as he does not consider the potential future recovery of the stock.

Conversely, Investor B reacts to the loss more calmly and rationally. He conducts a more comprehensive analysis and believes in the long-term potential of the stock. He decides to hold onto the stock, trusting it will eventually recover. He accepts the short-term losses and adopts a longer-term investment perspective.

This case illustrates the behavioral finance bias of loss aversion. Investors tend to dislike losses more than they pursue gains of equivalent amounts, leading to irrational decision-making. Loss aversion bias can cause investors to overly buy conservative assets, excessively sell risky assets, or realize losses too early, thereby affecting their investment returns.

This case emphasizes the importance of understanding behavioral finance. Investors need to recognize that they might be influenced by these biases and take measures to avoid or mitigate the negative impacts of these biases on their investment decisions.

Risk Warning and Disclaimer

The market carries risks, and investment should be cautious. This article does not constitute personal investment advice and has not taken into account individual users' specific investment goals, financial situations, or needs. Users should consider whether any opinions, viewpoints, or conclusions in this article are suitable for their particular circumstances. Investing based on this is at one's own responsibility.

The End

Related News

Risk Warning

TraderKnows is a financial media platform, with information displayed coming from public networks or uploaded by users. TraderKnows does not endorse any trading platform or variety. We bear no responsibility for any trading disputes or losses arising from the use of this information. Please be aware that displayed information may be delayed, and users should independently verify it to ensure its accuracy.


Contact Us

Social Media