Report on Psychology Group Meeting - Meeting, Friday, 19 August 2016

As some members were unable to attend I set off for Hambleton wondering if our meeting would be a duet with Dennis and me but as it turned out, in spite of the rain, there were enough of us to make for a stimulating and enjoyable gathering. Happily this included Barbara freshly back from her European tour which included performing as a singer in several different countries.

We had intended to continue with our topic from the last meeting on the influence of psychological factors on financial decisions at all levels by viewing the remainder of a video we had started watching then. A number of members present, though, hadn’t seen the first part so after a broad introductory discussion covering our own historical knowledge and views on the issues involved we began to watch the presentation from the beginning. We were again surprised by the bitter divisions between the classical market economists and the psychologists who made up the behavioural economists. The former are convinced that all economic decisions are essentially rational and based on the sinlge-minded drive to at all times maximise our personal gains and dismiss out of hand any other factors that might influence us. The latter, however, are convinced that the axioms of rationality and self-interest are gross oversimplifications of behaviour and fail to take into account the wealth of evidence, whether experimental or observational, that economic decisions taken by individuals or groups can be irrational and influenced by a host of extraneous factors.

Even though we were little more than half way through the presentation we had much to discuss with everyone having something of relevance to offer. We ran out of time, however, and had just reached the point at which the programme was relating the bizarre story of the 17th century “tulip bubble” in Holland when we had to postpone our viewing and further discussion until our next meeting on Friday the 16th September.

I think we all enjoyed a stimulating meeting and I look forward to seeing as many members as possible when we next meet in September.

John Moore – Group Leader.
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