Good thinking or gut feeling? Decision-making style and rationality in traders, bankers and financial non-experts

Conference paper


Thoma, V. 2013. Good thinking or gut feeling? Decision-making style and rationality in traders, bankers and financial non-experts. UEL Research and Knowledge Exchange Conference 2013. University of East London, London 26 Jun 2013 London University of East London.
AuthorsThoma, V.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

Research in cognitive psychology and behavioural finance has suggested that human decision-making is subject to the use of ‘heuristics’ – simple decision rules that produce systematic biases away from normative decision outcomes (Kahneman, 2003), and that even financial experts may be susceptible to heuristic thinking (e.g., Taleb, 2004).
The current study investigated differences in decision-making style and the susceptibility to heuristics between financial traders, non-trading bank employees, and people not working in finance. Traders scored significantly higher than participants in the other two groups on the cognitive reflection task (CRT; Frederick, 2005) which measures the tendency to inhibit automatic but frequently false responses in reasoning tasks. Scores for traders were also higher on a self-rated scale for reflective thinking (REI; Pacini & Epstein, 1999) in decision-making. There were no group differences in the propensity for intuitive thinking, although self-rated experientiality (REI-E) correlated with age. These results indicate that traders have a higher self-rated tendency for reflective thinking and a greater propensity to inhibit the use of mental shortcuts (heuristics) when solving problems in judgment and decision making. However, traders in the current study showed no elevated preference to use ‘intuition’ in their decision-making compared to other groups. These group effects cannot be explained by differences in sex, age, or qualification, a conclusion that is supported by Toplak, West, and Stanovich (2011) who previously showed that performance on the CRT predicted heuristic thinking even when measures of cognitive ability and executive functioning were controlled for.

Year2013
ConferenceUEL Research and Knowledge Exchange Conference 2013
PublisherUniversity of East London
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-ND
File
License
CC BY-ND
Publication dates
Print26 Jun 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited27 Jun 2013
Place of publicationLondon
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85wz5

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