Mostrando postagens com marcador Contabilidade Comportamental. Efeitos Cognitivos. Processo Decisório.. Mostrar todas as postagens
Mostrando postagens com marcador Contabilidade Comportamental. Efeitos Cognitivos. Processo Decisório.. Mostrar todas as postagens

12 julho 2014

A genética dos vieses financeiros

Segue o resumo de um paper publicado no Journal of Financial Economics:

For a long list of investment “biases,” including lack of diversification, excessive trading, and the disposition effect, we find that genetic differences explain up to 45% of the remaining variation across individual investors, after controlling for observable individual characteristics. The evidence is consistent with a view that investment biases are manifestations of innate and evolutionary ancient features of human behavior. We find that work experience with finance reduces genetic predispositions to investment biases. Finally, we find that even genetically identical investors, who grew up in the same family environment, often differ substantially in their investment behaviors due to individual-specific experiences or events. 

O artigo pode ser baixado aqui

15 março 2013

Confiança do mercado

THE recovery in housing, the stock market and the overall economy has finally gained sustainable momentum — or so it is said.

That opinion seems to be based on several salient facts. Unemployment has been declining, from 10.0 percent in October 2009 to 7.7 percent last month. More spectacularly, the stock market has more than doubled since 2009 and has been especially strong for the last six months, with the Dow Jones industrial average reaching record closing highs last week and the S.& P. 500 flirting with superlatives, too.
And the housing market, seasonally adjusted, has been rising. The S.& P./Case-Shiller 20-city home price index gained 7 percent in 2012.
These vital signs make many people believe that we’ve turned the corner on the economy, that we’ve started a healing process. And their discussions often note one particular sign of systemic recovery: confidence. There is considerable hope that the markets are heralding a major development: that Americans have lost the fears and foreboding that have made the financial crisis of 2008 so enduring in its effects.
Hope is a wonderful thing. But we also need to remember that changes in the stock market, the housing market and the overall economy have relatively little to do with one another over years or decades. (We economists would say that they are only slightly correlated.) Furthermore, all three are subject to sharp turns. The economy is a complicated system, with many moving parts.
So, amid all those complications, there are other possibilities: Could we be approaching another major stock market peak? Will the housing market’s takeoff be short-lived? And could we dip into another recession?
There are certainly risks. Congress is mired in struggles over the budget crisis and thenational debt. The government is questioning the risk to taxpayers in its huge support of housing through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Reserve. Problems in Europe, Asia and the Middle East could easily shift people’s confidence. There have been abrupt and significant changes in confidence in European markets since 2009. Is there any reason to think that the United States is immune to similar swings?
For years, I’ve been troubled by the problem of understanding the social psychology and economic impact of confidence. There hasn’t been much research into the emotional factors and the shifts in worldview that drive major turning points. The much-quoted consumer sentiment and confidence indexes don’t yet seem able to offer insight into what’s behind the changes they quantify. It also isn’t clear which factors of confidence drive the separate parts of the economy.
Along with colleagues, I have been conducting surveys about aspects of stock market confidence. For example, since 1989, with the help of some colleagues at Yale, I have been collecting data on the opinions and ideas of institutional investors and private individuals. These data, and indexes constructed from them, can be found on the Web site of the Yale School of Management.
I have called one of these indexes “valuation confidence.” It is the percentage of respondents who think that the stock market is not overvalued. Using the six-month moving average ended in February, it was running at 72 percent for institutional investors and 62 percent for individuals. That may sound like a ton of confidence, but it isn’t as high as the roughly 80 percent recorded in both categories just before the market peak of 2007.
HOW do the these figures relate to other stock market measures? I rely on the measure of stock market valuation that Prof. John Campbell of Harvard and I developed more than 20 years ago. Called the cyclically adjusted price-earnings ratio, or CAPE, this measure is the real, or inflation-adjusted, Standard & Poor’s 500 index divided by a 10-year average of real S.& P. earnings. The CAPE has been high of late: it stands at 23, compared with a historical average of around 15. This suggests that the market is somewhat overpriced and might show below-average returns in the future. (The use of the 10-year average reduces the impact of short-run, or cyclical, components of earnings.)
For perspective, compare today’s valuation, confidence and CAPE figures to those of other important recent periods in the stock market. In the spring of 2000, a sharp market peak, only 33 percent of institutional investors and 28 percent of individual investors thought that the market was not overvalued. The CAPE reached 46, a record high based on data going back to 1871. (For the period before 1926, we rely on data from Alfred Cowles 3rd & Associates.) Yet most respondents in 2000 thought that the market would go up in the next year, so they hung in for the time being. That suggests that the 1990s boom was indeed a bubble, with investors suspecting that they might have to beat a hasty exit. They ended up trying to do just that, and brought the market down.
But then consider the valuation confidence in October 2007, another major peak, after which the stock market fell by more than 50 percent in real terms. At that peak, the CAPE was at 27 — a little higher than it is now, though not extraordinarily lofty. In 2007, valuation confidence was 82 percent for institutional investors and 74 percent for individual investors, or not far from today’s levels. Investors at the time didn’t think that they were floating on a bubble, and they saw the probability of a stock market crash as unusually low. Yet a plunge soon occurred. The cause appears not to have been so much the bursting of an overextended bubble but the subprime mortgage crisis and a string of financial failures that most investors couldn’t have known about.
Clearly, confidence can change awfully fast, and people can suddenly start worrying about a stock market crash, just as they did after 2007.
Today, the Dodd-Frank Act and other regulatory changes may help prevent another crisis. Even so, regulators can’t do much about some of the questionable thinking that seems to drive changes in confidence.

13 março 2013

Entrevista com Leonard Mlodinow

ÉPOCA – Nós vivenciamos mais o mundo mais pelo inconsciente que o consciente?
Leonard Mlodinow – Sim. A quantidade de energia do cérebro que está funcionando em processos inconscientes é maior do que nos conscientes. A energia usada pelo cérebro por alguém que está se concentrando profundamente é quase a mesma que a de uma pessoa deitada no sofá, sem fazer nada. Isso mostra que o cérebro está trabalhando duro o tempo todo, mesmo quando você está sonhando acordado, com a mente limpa. O pensamento consciente não toma tanto da capacidade do cérebro. A maior parte dele é inconsciente, principalmente porque há muitos processos fisiológicos que são coordenados inconscientemente, como as batidas do coração e respiração.

ÉPOCA – Os pesquisadores conseguem apontar quando processos inconscientes se tornam conscientes?
Mlodinow – Os processos inconscientes e conscientes são todos interconectados. Um alimenta o outro. Não é fácil separá-los. Imagine um cientista que está tentando resolver um problema de física bem difícil. Após se frustrar e não conseguir resolvê-lo, ele esquece aquilo e vai correr ou tomar um banho. Subitamente, quando está no meio do chuveiro ou no parque, uma solução lhe vem à mente. No fundo, seu cérebro estava refletindo profundamente naquilo. Seu consciente estava considerando o problema e o inconsciente trabalhou em cima dele. Tudo é conectado. E essa interconexão é complicada de destrinchar.

ÉPOCA – O que mais lhe impressionou durante a pesquisa para fazer o livro?
Mlodinow – Uma condição chamada “visão às cegas”. Muito do nosso processamento de informação visual é inconsciente. Seus olhos, retina e nervo óptico gravam uma imagem que é interpretada por certas partes do cérebro até chegar a você. Eu fiquei chocado com o caso de um paciente que teve um infarto que liquidou a região cerebral que envolve a parte consciente da visão, mas não afetou a parte inconsciente. Aquele homem tinha todas as ferramentas para processar uma imagem, mas seu cérebro não conseguia interpretar conscientemente aquilo. Em outras palavras, ele não conseguia ver nada. Mas conseguiu, num experimento famoso, desviar de obstáculos de um corredor porque a parte inconsciente da sua mente estava automaticamente o alimentando para evitar alguma colisão. Há pessoas que são cegas, mas possuem uma visão inconsciente pela qual não estão cientes. Eu descrevi aquela pesquisa no livro porque achei isso muito contraintuitivo. É difícil de imaginar que algo assim existe.

ÉPOCA – A mente subliminar serve como um mecanismo automático de sobrevivência?
Mlodinow – Sim. Ele é pura sobrevivência, uma questão evolutiva. Desviar de obstáculos, sentir fome, vontade de reproduzir, medo de situações ou barulhos estranhos são instintos de sobrevivência. E todo animal precisa disso para sobreviver, mesmo que de maneira inconsciente. Pensamentos conscientes, como escrever um romance ou investir dinheiro não têm propósito evolutivo.

ÉPOCA – É possível dizer que isso afeta nosso livre arbítrio?
Mlodinow – Seu consciente toma decisões. Mas está sendo alimentado pelo inconsciente. Só que você frequentemente você não está ciente das impressões. Para mostrar meu ponto, eu menciono no livro um estudo onde as pessoas compravam mais vinhos franceses quando ouviam música francesa e mais vinhos alemães quando escutavam músicas alemãs. Ao comprar um vinho, uma pessoa pensa em critérios como a uva, a região ou o que comerá no jantar. Mas não imagina que algo como a música pode mexer tanto com sua decisão.

ÉPOCA – Que escolhas nós tomamos inconscientemente todos os dias?
Mlodinow – Ir ao trabalho. Você vai no piloto automático. Vira à esquerda e direita sem pensar. Comer. Decidir o que comer. Aquele salgado, aquele doce. Basicamente, qualquer decisão que você tomar. Há influências por trás que ajudam a determinar o que você pegar. O pacote vai ajudar a determinar. Por exemplo, fizeram um estudo onde deram às pessoas diferentes cores de caixa para detergente. Depois de usá-lo por um mês, os pesquisadores pediram para cada “cobaia” avaliar o produto. A cor da embalagem tinha um efeito nítido em como as pessoas determinavam sua efetividade. Só que todos detergentes eram idênticos. As pessoas preferiam a caixa. É claro que os publicitários sabem que o pacote tem um apelo forte no produto. O que não significa que você pode ser 100% manipulado. Apenas mostra que pode ter certo efeito.

ÉPOCA – O pensamento consciente e o inconsciente podem entrar em conflito?
Mlodinow – Sim. Você não faz tudo o que racionalmente deseja ou planeja. O maior exemplo disso é o gasto com cartão de crédito ou dinheiro vivo. Pessoas com cartão gastam quase duas vezes mais porque não “sentem” o quanto estão gastando. A mente subliminar faz o dinheiro do cartão de crédito parecer menos. Ideias conscientes podem se chocar com sentimentos inconscientes.


05 março 2013

Entrevista com Michael Mauboussin

Michael Mauboussin seems perfectly suited to a career in Hollywood — he’s tall, fair and drop-dead good looking. Instead, the 48-year-old chose to teach at Columbia Business School, write bestselling behavioural finance tomes and make apparently intelligent people swoon, not necessarily in that order. Mauboussin started his career as a packaged food sector analyst and was until recently the chief investment strategist at Legg Mason, the firm made famous by Bill Miller’s 15-year S&P 500 beating streak. For this interview, he agrees to come down to New York from Connecticut where he lives. And what better quintessentially New York place for a free-wheeling conversation than the 843-acre Central Park? We locate a convenient bench overlooking a baseball diamond and Mauboussin shares his thoughts about the stock market. He also expounds on the role of skill and luck in sports, investing and life — the subject matter of his latest book, The Success Equation.

A little crystal-ball gazing into the future: how do you think investing is going to evolve over the next few years? After all, it is increasingly becoming difficult for active fund managers to beat the market…
There are two parts to investing. One part doesn’t change at all over time and that is the essential objective of buying assets at much less than they are worth. The value of assets are dictated by the present value of their cash flows. So there are certain principles that are going to be immutable and consistent over time.

We have data now for 90 years that shows value investing tends to work quite well
But coming to your point that active managers find it difficult to deliver excess returns, I talk about this in The Success Equation and it is an idea I call “the paradox of skill”. It says that as skill increases in an activity, luck actually becomes more important. We see this in sports. As training methods and coaching techniques become uniform, the performance of athletes becomes uniform too.
From an investing point of view, it means a couple of things. One is that there should be recognition of that basic reality. We have seen the standard deviation of excess returns in the US mutual fund industry decline fairly steadily since 1960. So this has been borne out. The second thing is that where you can really get an edge as an active manager is in asset classes where there is more diversity of skill. There are certain pockets where that is true. So there are areas where active managers will continue to do well. So there is an immutable part to investing, and a changing part.
You mentioned there could be pockets where active investing could do well. What pockets would that be?
There have been some classic studies. One case that continues to be true in the US is spinoffs. Large corporations have multiple businesses and when they decide to spin off a troublesome business, it becomes almost an orphan that no one wants to own. It turns out, buying those spinoffs has been a very lucrative strategy. Buying stocks where expectations are quite low is a good strategy because that is when valuations are cheap. We have data now for 90 years that shows value investing tends to work quite well. So the simplest way to say it is to repeat a Warren Buffett quote: “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

Active fund managers don’t deliver but they keep getting assets to manage. Why? Is it simply greed, or that the fund sales guys are doing a great job of lying?

In the aggregate if you say active fund managers roughly approximate the market and they charge fees, just by definition they can’t deliver excess returns. According to the US mutual fund data, over the last 50 years active fund managers have outperformed by an average of 40%. To state it differently, 40% of active fund managers have beaten the benchmark in an average year. But that has a standard deviation of 17%, which is a very wide range. In some years only very few do it; in other years a majority will do it. So the key is it is difficult to beat the market. But there are a couple of factors why index investing is not sustainable. One is that while indexing and passive fund management makes a lot of sense for people, there is a logical limit to doing this because passive managers are piggybacking on the research and trading of active managers. They are leveraging the information that has been reflected in prices. There is a very famous paper by Joseph Stiglitz and Sanford Grossman that says you need active fund managers who go out, seek information and reflect that in prices, and they will be compensated by way of excess returns in order to do that. Markets aren’t miraculously informationally efficient without somebody doing the work. That is the first point.

Second, there is no way to outperform the market without active management; otherwise you have to reconcile to market returns. Third, most individuals don’t have the time or capability to delve directly in stocks so, for them, it’s about “can we pick managers who have a better chance of making a greater return over time?”. Certainly, hope springs eternal. That is why people do this.

Conventional wisdom tells us that less is more in investing, so churn less. But hedge fund managers like Jim Simons of Renaissance have been able to produce consistent results with a trading-oriented strategy. How?

Yes, I wrote a piece saying that too much turnover was bad. Specifically, the strategy of moving from one manager to another manager within an asset class or firing a poor performing manager and hiring a good performing manager while moving from one asset class to another has proven to be mostly ineffectual. It eats into returns. But when you look at an asset class in particular, there are many ways to fail but there are many ways to succeed too, from trading strategies that are very short-term oriented to the Buffett approach of buy and hold it forever. The key is to have your process in line with your trading behaviour. When I look at Renaissance, they do trade an enormous amount, but the key to their success is that they have geared their process towards doing that specifically. So there is nothing inconsistent about those two things. Where I think we run into problems is when people claim to be long-term oriented but behave as if they are short-term oriented. That disconnect can be very costly.

Over the last 50 years, active fund managers have outperformed by an average of 40% but with a standard deviation of 17%
Particularly to pick up your point about why less is more, there is a very natural tendency for investors to buy what has done well and to avoid what has done poorly. A very powerful influence in the markets is reversion to the mean, whether it is asset class return or anything else. Let me give you the most depressing statistics in investing, which is that in over 20 years the S&P 500 has returned about 9%, the average mutual fund about 7% or 7.5%. But the average investor has only got returns of 5.5-6%. So they have fared worse in terms of returns than the mutual funds in which they invest. How could that be? The answer is bad timing. They are pouring in money at the top of the market and pulling out money from the bottom. So their dollar-weighted returns are actually quite poor. Sometimes being too active when things are good or bad tend to be to people’s detriment.

You have mentioned the ill effects of the recency bias — how do you stay clear of this?
There is a powerful concept that I opened the book Think Twice with, which was developed by economist Amos Tversky 40 years ago — the inside versus outside view. The idea is that when most of us face problems, the natural way is to gather information about it, combine your own inputs and project into the future. So naturally, what has happened recently often tends to be a large component of that. In contrast, the outside view is viewing your problem as an instance of a larger reference class, which is to ask the question what happened when other people were in this situation. One of the main ways to offset recency bias is to consider a larger sample set and a larger reference class and ask what you should expect. For example, I asked a friend, who is a baseball executive, who his favourite professional team is. His reply: often, if a player is playing particularly well, people start saying that this guy is more valuable than he really is. Whereas, if you step back and say what is right or wrong with his long history, what are other players like and how have they done, that is a far better indicator of his true underlying skill. So the inside-outside view helps meaningfully address the recency bias. But you have to be very explicit about it. It is not easy to do.

Just to stretch that point, would you also say that if you are looking at a stock you would go talk more to the competition than the management itself…

I don’t know if I would necessarily say that. But if I am looking at a stock it goes back to how difficult it is to predict earnings, cash flow, etc. If I am looking at a rapidly growing company that has done very well, the kind of questions I would want to ask is firstly, what is priced in? At today’s price what has to happen to justify that price, in terms of growth rates, returns on capital and all those metrics? The second question I want to ask is that if I look at all those companies that were in that same position, of that same size and that were growing at that same rate, how did they do? I would like to look at that distribution array and say what is priced in versus what the distribution looks like. If that price is very optimistic, then I would be much more cautious about it. If that price looks relatively pessimistic it would be much more interesting. It will not always give you the right answer but it is another way to check your enthusiasm or pessimism.

In general, what is the right way to value a technology company? The pillars that value investing emphasises, which is assets or earnings, these companies either do not have them or have poor visibility. So you have this bunch of companies that give supersize returns, but if you took the traditional route to estimating their value, you may not meet with any success at all.

There are a couple of things to that. One is that value has a fairly immutable definition, which is the present value of cash flows. But technology is challenging for a few reasons. The challenges are that it is very difficult to achieve and sustain competitive advantage. Buffett likes to talk about this economic moat around the business that allows you to generate high and sustainable returns on invested capital. In technology, that is very difficult to achieve, primarily because cycles are very short. What we do in valuation is estimate the value for an explicit forecast period and then the residual value beyond that period.

In a non-linear and unstable environment, it’s very difficult to apply intuition
Now, that’s a fair point; in certain technology companies there is no residual value at all. Think of a great piece of software that becomes popular but once something else comes along, it becomes obsolete. That said, there have been certain software companies that have been able to achieve and sustain competitive advantage. Certainly the easy one to think in retrospect would be a company like Microsoft. Often there are specific drivers behind that and the most prominent probably in technology is network effects: when the value of a good or service increases as more people use that good or service. For example, for Microsoft that was a very powerful driver. I would say businesses like Amazon probably have better competitive advantage where they are able to deliver goods or services profitably. In many technology companies you have to think about option value as well — this is the option to do things that could add on to the business or get into new areas. 

How do you estimate margin of safety for tech firms?

It’s pretty much the same way we do for other company — you forecast the range of possible outcomes for the value of the company using value driver assumptions for sales growth, margins and capital intensity. Now, to me, the margin of safety would say something like I would like the price to be at the very low end of what the value could be or should be. So that is a very good bargain. That is why very few technology companies truly have substantial margins of safety.

You have said in the past that one shouldn’t rely much on intuition. But most successful investors emphasise the role of intuition in their decision making. Does intuition become more useful after are successful?

I do think there is a role for intuition in decision making. But what I have said, and I repeat, is that people rely vastly too much on intuition. People draw on much more than they should. Intuition works very well in environments that are stable and linear where you learn about the environment. Sports is a very good example — so if you are learning to play tennis, it is a stable and linear environment. As you play, you get better and better and then your intuition will be very good. Chess is another great example. The grandmasters of chess have enormous intuition, they are analytical but they also have a lot of intuition. Where intuition tends to fail are situations exactly opposite of that — situations that are non-linear and unstable. There you can’t really train yourself, you can’t get feedback. To the degree that the markets and companies operate in a non-linear and unstable environment, it is very difficult to apply intuition. Now, the point you raised about successful people talking about the role of intuition. The reason is that they forget about their failures. So you always hear the story that Fred Smith was in the shower one day and came up with this brilliant idea of Fedex and he built this multi-billion dollar, wildly successful company. What you don’t hear about is that Smith’s neighbour was also in the shower and also had a brilliant idea, he pursued that and it failed. So there is a massive selection bias. By definition, we only see the successful investors. I do not mean to say intuition does not work, but you need to be thoughtful about when it will work and when it does not.

Do you believe chance plays an equally important role in business as in investing?
I think there is probably more skill in running a business than in investing, in part because there are parts of business that are pure skill. That said, as you move up the organisation and move towards things that are more related to strategy, luck will play a bigger role. Investing again is a paradox of skill, which is that because everybody is so good and all the information is reflected in the markets, luck becomes more important.
How You Can Change Your Decision Making
  1. Raise your awareness: Incomplete information and lots of uncertainty leads to poor outcomes
  2. Put yourself in the shoes of others: Consider the point of view or experience of other people
  3. Recognise the role of skill and luck: Sorting skill from luck is essential for evaluating outcomes
  4. Get feedback: Maintaining a decision-making journal allows you to audit your decisions
  5. Create a checklist: It will alert you to think clearly about what you might advertently overlook
  6. Perform a premortem: Assume that the decision has failed; look for reasons why
  7. Know what you can’t know: In decisions that involve systems with many interacting parts, causal links are frequently unclear
Source: Think Twice

24 janeiro 2013

Tristeza não tem fim, dinheiro sim

Quando pesquisava para seu livro “O Poder do Hábito”, o escritor americano Charles Durhigg deparou com uma prática a princípio inexplicável das empresas de cartões de crédito dos Estados Unidos. Sempre que descobrem, comparando dados pessoais, prática permitida no mercado americano, que um de seus clientes se divorciou, as empresas cortam seu limite de crédito. A redução é ainda mais radical caso o cliente seja do sexo masculino, diminuindo o limite pela metade. A explicação: analisando o histórico de crédito de recém-separados, matemáticos a serviço dessas empresas cruzaram os dados e notaram que não muito tempo depois de mudar seu status de relacionamento para “solteiro” no Facebook os homens, principalmente, começam a ter problemas para pagar suas dívidas.
À primeira vista, pode parecer um exagero – além de uma intromissão indevida na vida dos clientes -, mas um estudo recente conduzido pelos departamentos de psicologia das Universidades de Harvard e Columbia, nos Estados Unidos, mostrou que há uma lógica emocional por trás dessa situação: estar triste pode ter um custo financeiro.
“Uma pessoa triste não é necessariamente uma pessoa sábia quando se tratam das escolhas financeiras”, afirma Ye Li, professor da Universidade Riverside, na Califórnia, que participou do estudo como pós-doutorando do Centro de Ciências da Decisão de Columbia. “Descobrimos que as pessoas tristes são mais impacientes e frequentemente irracionais.”
Nos últimos dez anos, estudos aprofundaram essas descobertas, mostrando que pessoas tristes têm mais problemas com as finanças pessoais, dívidas do cartão de crédito e financiamentos, empréstimos e seguros duvidosos. Por trás de todos os resultados, está o que Ye Li e os outros dois autores do estudo, Jennifer Lerner, da Escola Kennedy de Governança e diretora do Centro de Ciência da Decisão de Harvard, e Elke U. Weber, também de Columbia, chamam de miopia da tristeza.
A miopia da tristeza é, segundo o estudo, responsável por um preconceito momentâneo que leva as pessoas a ignorar os ganhos maiores que vêm com a espera em troca da satisfação imediata. Mais: o gasto em si recebe mais atenção do que o benefício que poderá produzir. A miopia da tristeza, conclui a pesquisa, é um fenômeno robusto e potencialmente perigoso para a vida financeira das sociedades.
É certo que decisões econômicas, incluindo o que compramos, envolvem escolhas que costumam ser feitas com base em razões que nos parecem consistentes. “As pessoas não querem pagar ou consumir mais do que deviam mesmo quando estão tristes”, observa Nitika Garg, professora da Australian School of Business e coautora, com Jennifer Lerner, do estudo “Tristeza e Consumo”. É bem capaz que neguem a influência, como os voluntários da maioria dos estudos. Mais ainda: a combinação de tristeza e consumo em excesso pode levar a um ciclo em que o próprio hábito de gastar leva a alterações de humor. Por que então a propensão aos gastos?
“A pessoa que está propensa a comprar pensa: ‘Eu sou a solução para os meus problemas’”, explica Vera Rita de Mello Ferreira, psicanalista e autora do livro “A Cabeça do Investidor”. “E uma das formas mais fáceis de encontrar satisfação é por meio das compras. Quanto mais radical a sensação de perda ou de desamparo, mais radical será a busca por compensação.”
Esse não é um processo consciente, ressaltam todos os estudos. E nem mesmo faz sentido à luz da lógica. Se uma pessoa triste é mais pessimista, o normal seria que nas centenas de decisões que toma todos os dias fosse mais cética. “Nossa pesquisa não visava propriamente saber se pessoas tristes fazem avaliações mais pessimistas. Mas ser pessimista sobre o futuro é uma das possíveis explicações sobre por que elas querem obter as coisas o mais cedo possível”, diz Ye Li.
"Tears", de Man Ray
“Tears”, de Man Ray
Economistas e psicólogos tomam direções diferentes quando tentam explicar o papel das emoções nas decisões. A teoria econômica tradicional não costuma dar valor a motivações individuais nas decisões financeiras, considerando que os indivíduos tendem a agir de forma racional, pesando expectativas e probabilidades. Psicólogos ligados à economia comportamental contra-argumentam, no entanto, que as teorias econômicas não conseguem dar conta dos verdadeiros processos mentais por trás de nossas decisões. Novos estudos nas duas últimas décadas começaram a aproximar os dois campos, assim como a neurociência, principalmente no que diz respeito ao consumo.
É inegável – aponta o estudo de Harvard e Columbia – que as pessoas normalmente fazem algumas das escolhas econômicas mais importantes da vida por causa das emoções. “O amor impulsiona a decisão de propor ou aceitar o casamento. Raiva pode levar a uma separação. O medo leva à decisão de abandonar a casa em meio a um desastre”, dizem os pesquisadores. Um funeral pode obrigar alguém a tomar decisões financeiras importantes em um estado emocional conturbado. Com o trauma da separação, um divórcio vem acompanhado de novos gastos com habitação e alimentação, entre outros.
A tristeza, no entanto, há séculos é vista como uma boa parceira econômica. Samuel Coleridge (1772-1834), poeta e filósofo inglês experimentou crises profundas de ansiedade e depressão. Sua vida o inspirou a criar uma frase famosa: “O homem mais triste e mais sábio aumenta o amanhecer do dia seguinte”. Centenas de trabalhos de psicologia corroboraram essa ideia na segunda metade do século XX, atribuindo à tristeza o papel de antídoto para os otimistas em excesso, capaz de impedir alguém de agir por impulso.
Indivíduos mais tristes, segundo esses estudos, tendem a pesar mais racionalmente as implicações financeiras de suas escolhas. Então, de maneira tímida, nos anos 1980 e com mais profusão nos anos 90 e na década passada, um grupo de cientistas começou a apontar que se trata do contrário.
Tristeza, como definida pelos psicólogos, é um estado temporário, como numa morte ou separação, sendo ligada às sensações de desamparo e perda. Um de seus efeitos é provocar pessimismo sobre determinada situação, um efeito conhecido na psicologia como congruência de humor. Isso leva a uma mudança nos motivos pelos quais as pessoas em estados de tristeza costumam fazer escolhas. Por exemplo: um estudo conduzido por dois psicólogos, William Morris & Nora Reilly, descobriu que pessoas tristes, quando tinham de escolher um parceiro para resolver um problema, preferiam alguém com mais afinidade pessoal do que os mais capazes.
A pesquisa de Harvard e Columbia, concluída no fim do ano passado, teve como voluntários 200 estudantes das duas universidades, que, respondendo a um anúncio, receberam uma remuneração pela participação. Ao contrário de grande parte dos estudos anteriores, nos quais os voluntários assinalavam em um questionário qual era seu estado emocional no momento, os testes foram concebidos para provocar, respectivamente, uma “condição de tristeza”, uma “condição de desgosto” e um “estado neutro”.
Colocados em cabines individuais, os voluntários tiveram de assistir a três vídeos. Um mostrava a morte do personagem principal, interpretado pelo ator Jon Voight, diante do filho no filme “O Campeão”; outro, a cena de um banheiro infecto e insalubre no filme “Trainspotting”. O terceiro clipe foi um trecho de um documentário do canal National Geographic sobre a vida dos peixes na Grande Barreira de Corais.
Se fosse o caso, os voluntários também deveriam escrever um pequeno texto sobre uma história triste ou desagradável da qual tinham participado. Em seguida, escolheram entre 27 montantes de dinheiro e créditos no site da Amazon que deveriam receber naquele dia (entre US$ 11 e US$ 80) e maiores quantidades de dinheiro (entre US$ 25 e US$ 85) em um prazo que variava de uma semana a seis meses.
“A média dos participantes tristes em obter recompensas futuras foi de 13% a 34% menor do que dos participantes em um estado mental neutro”, diz Li. Houve casos em que os voluntários preferiram receber US$ 37 na hora a esperar três meses em troca de US$ 85 – mais do que o dobro.
Em outro dos trabalhos pioneiros, realizado pela Universidade de Columbia,
"Old man in sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity)", de Van Gogh
“Old man in sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity)”, de Van Gogh
estudantes tinham de informar se naquele momento se sentiam mais tristes ou ansiosos. Os dois estados levaram a decisões diferentes em um jogo. Enquanto os voluntários que se diziam tristes corriam mais riscos em busca de recompensas maiores, os ansiosos fizeram o contrário, se arriscando pouco em busca de um lucro menor, porém mais seguro de obter. A ansiedade aumentou a preocupação com o risco e a incerteza enquanto a tristeza aumenta as preocupações com a recompensa.
Se há uma arena em que as emoções reconhecidamente dirigem a necessidade de consumo é o mercado de ações. Em seu livro “Exuberância Irracional”, Robert Shiller afirma que o estado emocional dos investidores é um dos fatores mais importantes para explicar subidas fortes de preços. Foi assim nas bolhas dos últimos anos, principalmente a da internet e imobiliária. Tanto no momento de euforia e ganância como de pânico, diz a “teoria das emoções” no mercado financeiro, existe o efeito manada. Decisões de momento podem custar anos de economias.
“Ganância e medo movem a maioria das decisões. Mas duas emoções particularmente importantes são o orgulho e arrependimento. Por exemplo, pensa-se que o arrependimento tem como efeito a disposição para vender cedo demais ações que subiram rapidamente e manter aquelas que estão caindo. Se você vender uma ‘perdedora’, vai sentir arrependimento”, diz Lucy Acket, professora da Universidade Kennesaw, autora de estudos sobre as emoções e o mercado financeiro.
Uma medida do efeito da miopia da tristeza sobre os investidores foi descoberta por Jennifer Lerner e mais duas pesquisadoras, Deborah A. Small e George Loewenstein. Voluntários foram levados a fazer negócios numa experiência parecida com o que ocorre em um “home broker”. Metade ficou com um objeto, definindo por qual preço pretendiam vendê-lo, e a outra metade pôde fazer uma oferta de compra. Todos assistiram aos mesmos filmes do estudo atual, assim como cada um foi convidado a escrever explicando como se sentia. Então começaram a negociar.
Os participantes que assistiram ao vídeo mais triste e eram vendedores passaram a reduzir seus preços assim como os compradores fizeram ofertas maiores a ponto de superar as ofertas de venda. Isso aconteceu, segundo os pesquisadores, porque tanto em um caso como outro estava em jogo a busca por mudança. “No caso de venda, livrar-se do que se tem é uma oportunidade para mudar as circunstâncias que estão fazendo a pessoa sofrer, enquanto no caso de compra, a aquisição de novos bens é uma oportunidade para alterar uma realidade desagradável”, explica Jennifer.
“Um dos conselhos que dou é que a pessoa tenha um diário de bordo”, diz Vera Rita de Mello, que faz palestras e dá consultoria a investidores. “É importante colocar por conta própria o que está acontecendo. Assim, a pessoa consegue encontrar padrões.”
Um dos estudos de Jennifer, responsável por grande parte das descobertas que ligam emoções à tomada de decisões financeiras, concluiu que a tristeza deixa uma pessoa mais generosa e também mais propensa a apoiar programas sociais do que se estiver irritada. Com base no estudo, a irritação dos conservadores americanos com Barack Obama por instituir a saúde gratuita poderia ter sido menor se não fosse a crise econômica. Em um cenário de frustração, a reação de uma parte do Partido Republicano foi radicalizar, fazendo surgir o movimento ultraconservador Tea Party.
"Saudade", de Almeida Junior
“Saudade”, de Almeida Junior
Mas a tristeza não afeta apenas a maneira como se gasta dinheiro. Estudos sobre sua relação com a alimentação chegaram às mesmas conclusões, dessa vez com o aumento do consumo de pizza, salgadinhos, sorvete e doces. As pessoas tristes se entopem de “junk food” porque procuram conforto na comida, dizem outros estudos. O fenômeno é conhecido das indústrias de alimentos, que põem seus psicólogos para entendê-lo assim como um desdobramento perigoso para as vendas: se concluem que um produto não está ajudando a melhorar o humor, as pessoas tristes param de comprá-los.
Um consolo é que a miopia da tristeza é um estado temporário. No estudo de Harvard e Columbia, quando tinham de optar por receber uma quantia apenas três meses depois ou em um ano, os resultados foram parecidos entre todos os grupos. Sem a chance de obter prazer imediato, as decisões se tornam mais racionais.
Com problemas financeiros, dívidas, obesidade e problemas cardiovasculares sendo consequências da tristeza, as descobertas levam a uma questão: se as pessoas comprometem as próprias finanças por uma razão inconsciente e momentânea, mecanismos podem ser adotados para evitar a ruína financeira? “Eu penso nesse caso que isso deveria ser uma decisão pública”, diz Li.
“Por exemplo: a Federal Trade Comission [Comissão Federal de Comércio americana] tem uma regra que permite o cancelamento das vendas em três dias, exceto no caso de seguros e de imóveis.” No Brasil, as regras são parecidas. O Código de Defesa do Consumidor permite a desistência da compra em até sete dias se a compra for feita pela internet. Mas no caso de imóveis, se o comprador desistir, tem de indenizar o vendedor. “Eu acho que estender a mesma regra aos outros setores seria benéfico, embora os detalhes da implementação fossem difíceis.”
E, finalmente, uma das lacunas diz respeito ao objetivo do aumento do consumo. Embora dezenas de estudos tenham verificado a relação entre tristeza e consumo, faltam trabalhos que expliquem se gastar dinheiro realmente ajudou. “Não conheço nenhuma pesquisa que mostre que comprar realmente alivie um sentimento negativo”, diz Ye Li. “Tristeza apenas cria um desejo de comprar, mas não é necessariamente a melhor solução"

26 agosto 2012

Efeito Primazia

The Economist
First is best
Aug 24th 2012, 10:00 by M.S.L.J.

Is this the first article you read today? If so, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it. The order in which people experience things affects their opinion of them: they tend to like the first option best.

This is the result of a
new study by Dana Carney of Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard University. To test their hypothesis, the researchers conducted a series of experiments. In one volunteers were shown pictures of two violent criminals and then asked which one deserved parole. Most felt more merciful towards the first mugshot they were shown (different volunteers saw different villains first).

This bias affects commercial decisions, too. Asked which type of chewing gum they preferred, 68% of respondents at a railway station in Boston picked the first stick they were offered. In another experiment, volunteers more often wanted to buy a car from the first salesperson they met rather than the second.

In their paper, entitled “First is Best”, the authors contend that the first option in a series will be “consistently preferred” if the chooser is under time pressure or slightly distracted. Thanks to mobiles, meetings and toddlers that pretty much describes modern life for many people.

Clever companies have noticed, and compete to bump whatever they are selling to the front of the queue. That is why the first slot in an advertisement break on television costs more than the second; it’s roughly 10-15% pricier, according to Jonathan Allan, sales director at Channel 4, a British broadcaster. It is also why an ad that introduces a rival’s product first, even in order to disparage it, may well backfire. Advertising firms themselves like to go first when pitching for an account. “It sets the benchmark for everybody else,” says Bridget Angear of AMV BBDO, an advertising agency.

Being first matters even more online. People are lazy and few bother to scroll through dozens of pages of search results, says Kate Devine of, a dating website. The site uses this observation to reward its most avid customers. When a belle enters search criteria for her beau, possible matches appear in an order determined by the last time these logged on to the site. This is good for traffic, but the keenest suitors may not prove the most suitable.

Badoo, another dating service, locates other users nearby so as to encourage spontaneous meetings. People can pay Badoo £8.49 ($13.46) per month for the privilege of appearing top in a list of users in the area, but rankings will drop as others pay too.

The most important place to be first is on Google’s rankings, which explains why it is under increasing pressure to make its search algorithm more open. The online giant recently started punishing websites that infringe copyright by listing them further down. This may not blast the pirates out of the water, but it will force them to work harder for their booty.

Efeito Primazia II

Haas Newsroom
July 2, 2012
The Advantages of Being First

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY’S HAAS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS – How people make choices depends on many factors, but a new study finds people consistently prefer the options that come first: first in line, first college to offer acceptance, first salad on the menu – first is considered best.

The paper, “First is Best,” recently published in PLoS ONE by Dana R. Carney, assistant professor of management, University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, and co-author Mahzarin R. Banaji, professor of psychology, Harvard University.

In three experiments, when making quick choices, participants consistently preferred people (salespersons, teams, criminals on parole) or consumer goods presented first as opposed to similar offerings in second and sequential positions. The authors say their findings may have practical applications in a variety of settings including in consumer marketing.

“The order of individuals performing on talent shows like American Idol. The order of potential companies recommended by a stockbroker. The order of college acceptance letters received by an applicant. All of these firsts have privileged status,” says Carney. “Our research shows that managers, for example in management or marketing, may want to develop their business strategies knowing that first encounters are preferable to their clients or consumers.”

The study found that especially in circumstances under which decisions must be made quickly or without much deliberation, preferences are unconsciously and immediately guided to those options presented first. While there are sometimes rational reasons to prefer firsts, e.g. the first resume is designated on the top of the pile because that person wanted the job the most, Carney says the “first is best” effect suggests that firsts are preferred even when completely unwarranted and irrational.

The study’s first experiment asked 123 participants to evaluate three groups: (a) two teams, (b) two male salespersons, and (c) two female salespersons. First, participants were asked to join one of the two teams and were introduced to the Hadleys and the Rodsons. Immediately following the introduction, they decided which team to join. Next, participants were told they were buying a car and introduced to two male salespersons: Jim and Jon. Immediately following the introduction, they selected the salesperson from whom they preferred to buy a car. Finally, participants were told they needed to re-make their car-buying decision and that they would be introduced to two new salespersons; this time, female: Lisa and Lori. After sequential introduction they, again, decided which person they’d like to buy a car from.

When asking participants about their choices, the researchers asked about choice in two ways: conscious/deliberate choice, which was self-reported (i.e.., “I prefer Lisa to Lori”), or they completed a reaction-time task adapted from cognitive psychology in which participants’ automatic, unconscious preference for each option was assessed (i.e. “good,” “better,” “superior”). Regardless of whom people said they preferred, on the unconscious, cognitive measure of preference, participants always preferred the first team or person to whom they were introduced.

To test the choice preferences of consumer goods, the researchers asked 207 passengers at a train station to select one of two pieces of similar bubble gum in a “rapid decision task” or choosing within a second of seeing the choices (using psychologist Daniel Kahneman’s theory on ‘thinking, fast and slow’). Once again, the result was the same: when thinking fast, the bubble gum presented first was the preferable choice in most cases.

Researchers considered the salespeople and the gum relatively positive stimuli, without controversy. In order to test their theory with negatively charged options, Carney and Banaji asked another group of 31 participants to choose between pairs of convicted criminals and decide which one was more worthy of parole instead of prison. After viewing mug shots of two 29 year-old criminals known to have committed the same violent crimes with similar features and facial expressions, again, when “thinking fast,” participants judged the first criminal presented as more worthy of parole.

If order matters, why? Carney contends the proven “primacy has power” theory may provide the best answers. The paper cites, “a preference for firsts has its origins in an evolutionary adaptation favoring firsts …” For example, in most cases, humans tend to innately prefer the first people they meet: a mother, family members. In addition, those preferences are associated with what’s safe. Carney says the historic concept of the established “pecking order” also supports their findings that people find “first is best.”

Efeito Primazia III

Why First is Best
Roger Dooley

If you sell products or services, you probably have a product that you’d like to sell more of. Maybe it’s the one the produces the highest level of customer satisfaction or the fewest returns. Maybe it’s more profitable than other items in the line. Maybe it represents a great value for your customers but they overlook it. Here’s one key to selling more of that item: be sure your customer sees it FIRST!

New research from Berkeley and Harvard scientists underscores what we know from past research: humans have an inherent preference for the first choice they see. This phenomenon is called the primacy effect.

It’s fascinating that this effect occurs across many different domains. The first experiment in the latest batch had subjects evaluate photos of “salespeople” – pairs of males, females, and teams. When the subjects were asked about their preferences in a questionnaire, they showed no difference in their evaluation of each pair. But, using an implicit association test, a technique to measure subconscious preferences, there was a significant difference in favor of the first-viewed person or team. (For more on implicit association, see The Secret Voter in Your Brain.)

The second experiment showed subjects two similar brands of bubble gum. When given a chance to think about their choice, the subjects chose each brand about half the time. But, when instructed to choose quickly, 62% chose the first-viewed item and only 38% chose the second.

Both experiments indicate a bias toward the first item seen. This bias doesn’t overwhelm all other considerations, and the more a person thinks about a choice the less significant it will be. Still, to use my pet terminology, it’s a NeuroNudge that could help a customer finalize a choice.

As I described in Order Effect Affects Orders, primacy has been shown to be important in comparing similar products. Austrian researchers studied “recommender systems,” i.e., systems that help consumers choose the best product for their needs. Subjects were shown images and descriptions of tents that had various differences in configuration, closures, waterproofing, etc. The tents were displayed in random order. What they found was startling: the subjects did indeed prefer one tent over the rest, by a factor of 2.5 times. The surprise was that this preference wasn’t for one particular tent design; rather, the subjects greatly preferred whichever tent they saw first.

Brainy Takeaway

The lesson from all of this research is that leading with your most attractive product will help nudge customers toward purchasing that product. You can accomplish that with showing the products sequentially, by placing the desired product first on a multi-product display, or by drawing visual attention to that product so that it is viewed first.

Note that this is a nudge, not a big shove. The more the customer deliberates, the weaker the effect will be. And, sometimes, other strategies may work better – showing a customer an expensive product first to produce a price anchor, then a product that is similar but less expensive that will seem more of a bargain and be the likely choice. There’s also the recency effect, which can cause a preference for the last item seen if there’s a delay between viewing the items and the choice is made immediately after seeing the last one.

Still, purchase decisions often come down to small differences and subconscious leanings – in most cases, you should lead with your best option.

15 outubro 2011

Pesquisa: Contabilidade comportamental

Wenner Glaucio Lopes Lucena, Maria Sueli Arnoud Fernandes, José Dionísio Gomes da Silva

O estudo tem como objetivo investigar os efeitos cognitivos direcionados aos Operadores da Contabilidade: Heurística da Representatividade, Excesso de Confiança, Efeito Disponibilidade e Heurística da Relatividade, com base na Contabilidade. Quanto aos procedimentos metodológicos empregados, realizou-se pesquisa de base descritiva e de levantamento, com abordagem indutiva. Um questionário com seis perguntas foi aplicado em duas etapas: via e-mail para os auditores do Cadastro Nacional dos Auditores Independentes (CNAI) e do Instituto dos Auditores Independentes do Brasil (IBRACON) (137 auditores) e para os contadores distribuídos por todo o Brasil (722 contadores); e in loco com os auditores internos das Contas Públicas do Estado da Paraíba (50 auditores). Os dados desse estudo foram tratados com o auxílio do Microsoft Office Excel® e do software Statiscical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Os testes utilizados foram: o Teste Qui-Quadrado de Pearson para Independência, o Teste Exato de Fisher e o Teste de Phi e Cramer’s V, todos ao nível de significância de 5%. Os resultados mostraram que os Operadores da Contabilidade, dependendo das situações empregadas, são influenciados pelos efeitos cognitivos de excesso de confiança, heurística da relatividade (efeito ancoragem) e julgamentos probabilísticos.

Revista Universo Contábil