Why Behavioral Scientists should Understand Financial Markets

Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

Todd Ward, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA

bSci21Media, LLC

Sometimes people in the behavioral sciences are overly focused on the individual.  They want to understand and influence people’s lives for the better by looking at factors in that person’s life, their history of interacting in the world, their relationships, and their own behavioral tendencies.

What is missed here is the fact that the world in which we find ourselves is largely manufactured.  Our world is fluid – it is created and destroyed.  New buildings are built and are torn down.  Our clothes come and go with the latest fashions.  We update our technology regularly and toss out the old.  And so on.

An analysis of the individual and his/her history is limited.  If your goal is to better understand people and improve their lives we need to take it a step further to also understand how the larger situational factors within which one lives their life come and go.

The answer resides in financial markets, in which we all participate whether we know it or not.  Global behavioral systems called “economies” move money worldwide and affect the actions of billions of people everyday.  And if you think about it, at the individual level, most of us allocate the majority of our time every day to earning a paycheck such that we can pay our bills and support our families.  Many of us seem to do nothing but work, leaving little time for our friends and family.  In this sense, money is everything, and it is in behavioral scientists best interests to understand how it affects us and flows around the globe to create and destroy the worlds in which we live.

Silver markets offer a case in point.

JM Bullion provides a detailed analysis of the fundamental economic factors that affect the price of silver.  They noted “without silver you wouldn’t be reading this…you’d be too busy hunting and gathering food.”  Some of the 1000s of industrial uses of silver include your smartphone, computers, most electronics, batteries, clothing, photography, solar energy.  And, of course silver itself has been used as money for millennia and helps protect your paper money against inflation.

In today’s COVID-19 world, global economies are disrupted and millions are out of work or changing careers.  Now is one of the best times for you to think about how financial markets impact your life, what they add to behavioral science, and how you can leverage this knowledge to give yourself the best life possible.

For more articles on behavioral science and financial markets please see below:

Macrocontingencies in Financial Markets

Financial Trading for Behavioral Scientists

Impact Investing: Aligning Reinforcement Contingencies to Save the Planet

Profiting from Global Behavioral Systems via Foreign Exchange Markets

Incorporating Behavior Analysts into Global Markets

Shifting Macrocontingencies: Renewable Energy Overtakes Coal

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA is a science writer, social philosopher, behavioral systems analyst, and the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which aims to connect behavioral science to the world in an engaging, non-academic way.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  His publications follow a theme of behavioral systems analysis, organizational performance, theory & philosophy, and language & cognition.  He has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward can be reached at todd.ward@bsci21.org

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