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October 2 2012

How Brains Make Money

You and I would look at Wall Street and see the epitome of capitalism, a place where the marketplace, while more manic than in times past, still drives decisions.

But a group of scientists gathering today for a conference in Miami would see it differently. They would argue that if you really want to understand why investors and traders behave the way they do, you need to look inside their brains.

Meet the neuroeconomists, pioneers of sorts in an emerging field based on the notion that financial decisions have their roots in neuron connections. They’re building a science around using brain scans to try to figure out what’s going on when people choose to chase rewards, or conversely, avoid risk. They’re also hoping this will help them understand why people make irrational choices, even when the reasoning part of their minds seems to know better.

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