Event Detail

CMC Athenaeum: What Decision Neuroscience Teaches Us about Financial Decision Making

Friday, March 05, 2010


What Decision Neuroscience Teaches Us about Financial Decision Making



LUNCH 11:30 a.m.; LECTURE 12:00 p.m.


Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum
Claremont McKenna College
385 E. 8th St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420


Bossaerts received a licentiate and doctorandus degree in applied economics from the University of Antwerp in Belgium. After coursework towards a Master's in statistics at the Free University Brussels, he changed to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he finished his Ph.D. in Management (Finance) under Richard Roll. His first appointment as assistant professor was at Carnegie Mellon University's Graduate School of Industrial Administration. In 1990, Professor Bossaerts moved to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he promoted to become Professor of Finance, and presently the William D. Hacker Professor of Economics and Management. He was also Executive Officer for the Social Sciences and Chair of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences. Until June 2009, Bossaerts was at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) as Swiss Finance Institute Professor. He continues to run their Laboratory for Decision Making under Uncertainty, on a temporary basis.

While his research and publications have encompassed many areas of theoretical and empirical finance, his present work focuses on experimental finance. This work borrows tools from many relevant fields, such as decision theory, general equilibrium theory, game theory, cognitive psychology, and decision neuroscience. His work has been published in top journals in finance, economics, econometrics, science and neuroscience. Bossaerts has taught undergraduate, MBA, Ph.D. and executive classes at various places across the world. He is or has been on the board of many academic journals, such as the Review of Finance, the Review of Financial Studies, and Mathematical Finance.

Bossaerts will discuss his theories on how financial decision making is the outcome of complex neurophysiological processes involving, among others, constant re-evaluation of the statistics of the problem at hand, balancing of the various emotional aspects, and computation of the very value signals that are at the core of modern economic thinking. The evidence suggests that emotions play a crucial supporting role in the mathematical computations needed for reasoned choice, rather than interfering with it, even if emotions (and their mathematical counterparts) may not always be balanced appropriately. He feels decision neuroscience can be expected in the near future to provide a number of effective tools for improved financial decision making.

Professor Bossaerts’ Athenaeum lecture is part of the Financial Economics Institute Speaker Series.

2014 Claremont Graduate University 1021 North Dartmouth Ave., Claremont, CA 91711 (909) 607-7811