This past weekend was the 4-day "Neuroeconomics 2005" conference on Kiawah Island, South Carolina. "Neuroeconomics" is the study of how people make decisions about things they value (or should value). One example is how people evaluate and trade stocks. Other examples include games that measure financial trust, honesty and cooperation, strategic decision making and asset allocation, and risk preferences. This conference is a largely academic affair with research presentations by neuroscience, psychology, and economics researchers throughout each day.
Attendees were largely professors and graduate students, though a few pracitioners such as Jason Zweig (Money Magazine), Arnold Wood (Martingale Asset Management), Shirley Mueller (Star Financial), and myself were also present.
I'm unable to report on details of the latest "neurofinance" research until it appears in publication. The Stanford researchers (Kuhnen and Knutson -- see post below) have additional data from their study, and researchers at Baylor College of Medicine (especially Terry Lohrenz) are doing a fascinating asset market experiment with fMRI. Lohrenz is a former energy trader and mathematician.
In general, it was a very enjoyable meeting. Some of the findings will be described in later posts as they are published.