Community - June 2, 2010

At SRI: Before opening wallet, check emotions

Human emotion and its possible role in financial decisions will be the topic for June's Cafe Scientifique, the monthly presentation and discussion at SRI International in Menlo Park and set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 8.

In a talk called "This is Your Brain on Money," Stanford University psychology professor Brian Knutson will review recent findings in neuroscience that suggest that the region of the brain associated with pleasure, addiction, fear, aggression and laughter is also closely associated with investing and purchasing decisions.

The findings may help explain gyrations in financial markets, according to a statement from Cafe Scientifique. Another possible useful outcome: predicting an individual's behavior when confronted with a financial decision.

The research is an outgrowth of experiments from the 1950s in which a rat pressed a lever that stimulated its pleasure circuit — the region of its brain associated with emotions — and demonstrated that it would rather press that lever than eat, drink, sleep or have sex, the statement said.

Professor Knutson's research into the neurological underpinnings of human choice includes brain scans of people in the act of making investment and shopping decisions.

Doors open at 5:15 p.m. at the headquarters of SRI Menlo Park in the International Building at Middlefield Road and Ringwood Ave.

Go to for more information.


There are no comments yet for this post

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields