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כמה מילים על אינסטינקטים של חתלתול וניסיון של תרנגול
חתלתול אחד נחת בחצר בית מסוים (סיפור ארוך). באותה החצר הסתובב לו להנאתו תרנגול בוגר שהיה שייך לדייר של אותו בית. בפעם הראשונה שהחתלתול ראה את התרנגול, האינסטינקטים שלו נכנסו לפעולה והוא שעט לכיוון הציפור כמוצא טרף קל. התרנגול (שכנראה ראה חתלתול אחד או שניים בחייו ולא התרגש יותר מדי) נקר במקורו את החתלתול כה חזק, עד שזה יילל מכאבים שעות ארוכות.

ימים אחדים לאחר מכן, שוב יצא החתלתול לחצר הבית. התרנגול שהה אותה עת בגינה, תר אחר גרעינים. האינסטינקטים החזקים של החתלתול הורו לו לנסות ולתקוף בשנית. הפעם פעל קצת יותר בחוכמה. הוא צמצם מרחק בשקט, כמעט בזחילה, ארב במסתור זמני וכאשר התקרב לתרנגול, הסתער. הבעיה היתה שהתרנגול המנוסה ראה את החתלתול כבר כשנכנס לחצר ובדיוק ברגע שהחתלתול זינק לתבוע את קורבנו, פרס התרנגול כנפיים ויצא למתקפה רבתי. החתלתול המבועת נס על נפשו ומצא את בטחונו גבוה גבוה על עץ (כמובן שמכבי-האש נקראו לעזרה ולאחר מספר שעות הצליחו להרגיעו ולהורידו מהעץ הגבוה שטיפס עליו - תרתי משמע).

מעבר מהיר - לאחר מספר שבועות - התרנגול עדיין מסתובב בחצר הבית, אוכל גרעינים להנאתו. החתלתול מתחבא מאחורי עציץ ובוחן בעיניו את מעשי התרנגול. אט אט הוא שוב מתקרב בזחילה ובשקט לעבר התרנגול. כאשר הוא נמצא במרחק נוח (לא קרוב מדי לתרנגול), הוא מרים את רגלו שולף את ציפוריו, עושה קולות של תקיפה, אך מיד לאחר מכן נמלט (ממש מהר) לעבר העץ. החתלתול לא שכח את הכאב שספג מנקירות התרנגול ופשוט לא מסוגל להשלים את התקיפה. כמו סוחר מפוחד, הוא עדיין עושה את כל התנועות הנכונות... עד הרגע בו צריך לבצע את המהלך המשמעותי. ברגע הזה השיתוק אוחז בו.

חתולים (וסוחרים) בוגרים יודעים שניסיון, פעולה שיטתית והימנעות מכאבים צורבים חשובים להצלחה הרבה יותר מאינסטינקטים.

להתגבר על ארבעת הפחדים
בשלב זה או אחר, כל הסוחרים חווים פחד. זו המציאות הנגזרת מפעולה במערכת בה טבוע סיכון. השאלה החשובה היא כיצד הסוחר מתמודד עם רגשותיו בשעות המסחר. במאמר זה, נסקור את ארבעת הפחדים המאפיינים את השחקנים בשוק ההון וננסה לבחון את תוצאות הפחדים על פעולותיהם. המטרה היא להכיר ולהבין את הסכנות שעורבות לשחקן הממוצע, כדי שיוכל ליישם שיטות פעולה סדורות - שיטות שיהוו משקל נגד אותם פחדים.

[Shaw] There are only two losses one ever has to experience when investing in the stock market. The first loss is the most obvious... the loss of capital. The second loss, not as obvious, is simply that of an opportunity. There's an old Wall Street adage that's most appropriate here: "I'd rather be out of the stock market wishing I were in than in the market wishing I were out!". Think about that adage when fretting over the chance of "missing a bottom". We are not losing sleep over the fear of missing the bottom. We opt to let someone else risk his or her money to try and catch a falling sword, or to "pick" out, and possibly "make" the bottom. We also are not fearful of missing the exact pivot bottom itself. The other side of the bottom is where we will seek our rewards".
[Huang] "Sometimes emotions are good for making decisions, while at other times emotions are bad for making decisions. The reason for this mixed or nuanced answer is namely (that) emotions act faster than rational deliberation, but precisely because of their speed, emotions can mislead us into systematic errors in making decisions".
The Psychophysiology of Real-Time Financial Risk Processing, Lo and Repin, 2002
"Our findings suggest that emotional responses are a significant factor in the real-time processing of financial risks. Contrary to the common belief that emotions have no place in rational financial decisionmaking processes, physiological variables associated with the autonomic nervous system are highly correlated with market events even for highly experienced professional traders. In particular, there is considerable anecdotal evidence that subjects involved in professional trading activities perform very differently depending on whether real financial capital is at risk or if they are trading with “play” money. For this reason, measuring subjects while they are making decisions in their natural environment is essential for any truly unbiased study of financial decisionmaking processes. Our findings may be viewed more broadly as a study of cognitive-emotional interactions and the genesis of "intuition". Decision processes based on intuition are characterized by low levels of cognitive control, low conscious awareness, rapid processing rates, and a lack of clear organizing principles".
Investment Behavior and the Dark Side of Emotion, Shiv, Loewenstein, Bechara, and Damasio, 2005
Can dysfunction in neural systems subserving emotion lead, under certain circumstances, to more advantageous decisions? To answer this question, we investigated how normal participants, patients with stable focal lesions in brain regions related to emotion (target patients), and patients with stable focal lesions in brain regions unrelated to emotion (control patients) made 20 rounds of investment decisions. Target patients made more advantageous decisions and ultimately earned more money from their investments than the normal participants and control patients. When normal participants and control patients either won or lost money on an investment round, they adopted a conservative strategy and became more reluctant to invest on the subsequent round; these results suggest that they were more affected than target patients by the outcomes of decisions made in the previous rounds.
Looking for direction - Buying High, Selling Low, Marmer
"Why investors buy high and sell low can be mostly attributed to pride-seeking behaviour as well as the fear of regret. Pride-seeking refers to the need to feel good about decisions. Fear of regret leads to avoidance of the pain and responsibility of poor decisions. Correspondingly, pride-seeking leads investors to buy high, by investing in funds with the latest hot track record, so that they can be winners and feel good. Fear of regret, meanwhile, causes investors to sell low as they hold on to losing funds too long in the hope of avoiding the inevitable loss".
Can Fear Cause Economic Collapse?, Guarino, Huck and Jeitschko, 2004
'We have nothing to fear, but fear itself' (FDR). "We study the behavior of experimental subjects who have to make a sequence of risky investment decisions in the presence of network externalities. Subjects follow a simple heuristic - investing after positive experiences and reducing their propensity to invest after a failure. [According to a pervious] model, sudden economic collapse can result from pure 'fear'. In this paper we have investigated whether such 'Bayesian fear' can be observed in the laboratory. The answer is that it is not. Subjects are persistently optimistic as long as their own experiences are good. Subjects are surprisingly fearless of others' experiences, and simply follow their own experiences, thus averting a total collapse".
Once Burned, Twice Shy: Naive Learning, Counterfactuals, and the Repurchsae of Stocks Previously Sold, Odean, Barber and Strahilevitz, 2004
We establish two previously undocumented patterns in the purchase selections of individual investors and confirm a related pattern. These patterns hinge on investors' previous experience with a stock. We demonstrate that investors prefer to (1) repurchase stocks that they previously sold for a gain, (2) repurchase stocks that have lost value subsequent to a prior sale, and (3) purchase additional shares of stocks that have lost value subsequent to being purchased. We argue that the first trading pattern results from a simple form of learning whereby investors repeat actions that previously resulted in pleasure while avoiding actions that previously led to pain (i.e., they repurchase their previous winners but not their previous losers). We argue that the second trading pattern is tied to counterfactuals. Investors who buy a stock at a higher price than they previously sold it for are painfully aware that they are worse off than if they had simply never sold that stock. Investors who buy a stock at a lower price than they previously sold it for experience the pleasure of knowing they are better off than if they had never sold that stock. We argue that the third pattern can also be understood in terms of counterfactuals. Investors who purchase additional shares of a stock at a higher price than they originally paid are aware that they would have been better off making a larger initial purchase, while those who purchase additional shares at a lower price are better off than if they had made a larger initial purchase. Furthermore, by purchasing additional shares at a lower price, investors increase the likelihood that they will be able to sell their shares for more than the average purchase price. From a Prospect Theory perspective, investors are lowering their reference point for this position. Buying stocks that have gone down in price since they were sold, or first purchased, is inconsistent with the general preference of investors for buying stocks with strong recent performance. Investor returns do not reliably benefit from any of the three patterns we document.
The Courage of Misguided Convictions: The Trading Behavior of Individual Investors, Barber and Odean, 1999
"The human desire to avoid regret causes investors to sell their winners, while holding their losers; the tendency for human beings to be overconfident prompts them to trade excessively".
Behavioral Finance - And the Change of Investor Behavior during and After the Speculative Bubble At the End of the 1990s, Johnsson, Lindblom and Platan, 2002
"There is a human tendency to feel the pain of regret for having made errors. It's a feeling of ex post remorse about a decision that led to a bad outcome. Regret theory may help explain the fact that investors defer selling stocks that have gone down in value and accelerate the selling of stocks that have gone up in value. The theory may be interpreted as implying that investors avoid selling stocks that have gone down in order to not finalize the error they make and in that way avoid feeling regret. They sell stocks that have gone up in order not to feel the regret of failing to do so before the stock later fell".

Applications of Regret Theory to Asset Pricing , DODONOVA
This paper presents a theoretical model of asset pricing based on the assumption that some investors are regret averse. The model predicts that the market will over-react on good or bad news, and explains the high mean and volatility of stock returns.

What Drives the Disposition Effect?, Heiko, 2001
"Why do some investors tend to ''sell winners too early and ride losers too long''? Such behavior, labeled the disposition effect, has been attributed to biases in return expectations, time-varying risk-aversion based on the value function of prospect theory, and regret theory. The literature suggests an explanation of the disposition effect based on cognitive dissonance theory".