Human Psychology and Market Seasonality


Chapter 20: Human Psychology and Market Seasonality

Lisa A. Kramer

University of Toronto – Rotman School of Management

February 1, 2014

Investor Behavior: The Psychology of Financial Planning and Investing. H. Kent Baker and Victor Ricciardi, editors, 25-41. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2014 

Lisa A. Kramer studies human psychology and its roles in an individual’s financial decisions, with economically meaningful consequences observed even at the aggregate market level.

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Evidence suggests that human psychology plays a role in individuals’ financial decisions, with economically meaningful consequences observed even at the aggregate market level. This chapter considers many instances whereby human mood induced by exogenous factors is associated with economically large, statistically significant effects in financial markets. Some regularities covered by this chapter arise due to environmental factors. For instance, a relationship appears between length of day and stock returns, working through seasonal changes in depression and risk aversion. This chapter also considers financial market regularities that are consistent with mood changes due to events in the news, such as terrorist attacks, and forms of entertainment such as sporting events. In most cases, authors of the original studies apply extensive robustness checks to explore alternate hypotheses, namely that the phenomenon may arise for non-psychological reasons. The body of research builds a compelling case that human mood can markedly affect markets.

Investor Behavior: The Psychology of Financial Planning and Investing by H. Kent Baker

Investor Behavior provides readers with a comprehensive understanding and the latest research in the area of behavioral finance and investor decision making. Blending contributions from noted academics and experienced practitioners, this 30-chapter book will provide investment professionals with insights on how to understand and manage client behavior; a framework for interpreting financial market activity; and an in-depth understanding of this important new field of investment research. The book should also be of interest to academics, investors, and students.

The book will cover the major principles of investor psychology, including heuristics, bounded rationality, regret theory, mental accounting, framing, prospect theory, and loss aversion. Specific sections of the book will delve into the role of personality traits, financial therapy, retirement planning, financial coaching, and emotions in investment decisions. Other topics covered include risk perception and tolerance, asset allocation decisions under inertia and inattention bias; evidenced based financial planning, motivation and satisfaction, behavioral investment management, and neurofinance. Contributions will delve into the behavioral underpinnings of various trading and investment topics including trader psychology, stock momentum, earnings surprises, and anomalies. The final chapters of the book examine new research on socially responsible investing, mutual funds, and real estate investing from a behavioral perspective. Empirical evidence and current literature about each type of investment issue are featured. Cited research studies are presented in a straightforward manner focusing on the comprehension of study findings, rather than on the details of mathematical frameworks.

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