Well Said: The science behind the bet

On this week's episode, finance professor Camelia Kuhnen discusses neuroeconomics and the science behind financial decision-making.

Finance professor Camelia Kuhnen from the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School studies neuroeconomics — a field that combines neuroscience and economics to understand how people make financial decisions.

“I realized that my two degrees – neuroscience and finance – were both about decision-making,” Kuhnen said.

Her research indicates that it’s not only our brains that play a part in why some choose to invest and others do not. Kuhnen discovered that there is another factor at play: the environment people grew up in.

“If you experienced adversity growing up, your brain literally reacts differently to information than if you didn’t experience it,” Kuhnen said.

This, Kuhnen suggests, causes people to view the world differently, possibly adopting a pessimistic lens around financial investment and ultimately choosing not to invest.

Hear more from Kuhnen about this research as well as the impact it could have on the economy on this week’s episode.

The episode can be heard in the player above, on SoundCloud, Spotify or wherever podcasts are played.

Join us every Wednesday for Well Said to hear from students, faculty, staff and alumni. Each week, you’ll learn what’s going on in classrooms, labs and around campus, and how it pertains to the local, national and international headlines.

Read a transcript of the episode.