Date of Thesis

5-8-2013

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

T. Joel Wade

Abstract

Inspired by research in the field of behavioral economics as well as social psychology, this study aimed to explore if conformity plays a role in the occurrence of herd behavior in the financial market. Participants received one of nine different versions of a survey either online or on paper. They answered questions related to riskiness when making decisions, dependency on others when making decisions, and investment preferences among other questions. In experimental conditions, participants were told the majority of investors, either sixty percent or eighty percent, invested in a certain stock or won a game. It was predicted that individuals would conform to the group behavior in both experimental conditions with the highest level of conformity in the high pressure to conform condition. Results of experiments revealed that when the overwhelming majority of other investors behaved a certain way (80%), participants were more likely to behave that same way. Results of the third experiment supported previous research stating that emotion affects economic decision-making and facilitates herd behavior.

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