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NOVA: Mind Over Money

Airs Tuesday, May 1, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Interior shot of the New York Stock Exchange. "Mind Over Money" is an entertaining and penetrating exploration of why mainstream economists failed to predict the crash of 2008 and why we so often make irrational financial decisions.

In the aftermath of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, NOVA presents “Mind Over Money” — an entertaining and penetrating exploration of why mainstream economists failed to predict the crash of 2008 and why we so often make irrational financial decisions. It’s a show that reveals surprising, hidden money drives in us all and explores controversial new arguments about the world of finance.

The Disposition Effect

Should investors trust their gut when trading stocks? Do no such thing, argues David Adler, producer of "Mind Over Money." Find out why.

The Deciding Factor

Jennifer Lerner, a social psychologist at Harvard University, studies how emotions affect our financial decisions. In this podcast, hear about a new study she and her team are conducting that has revealed, among other things, how anger and sadness have very different effects on our economic choices.

Neuro-economics uses the latest fMRI technology to discover what happens in the brain when we make decisions.
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Above: Neuro-economics uses the latest fMRI technology to discover what happens in the brain when we make decisions.

Before the current crash, most Wall Street analysts believed that markets are “efficient” — that investors are reasonable and always operate in their own self-interest. Most of the time, these assumptions of classical economics work well enough. But in extreme situations, people panic and conventional theories collapse.

In the face of the recent crash, can a new science that aims to incorporate human psychology into finance — behavioral economics — do better? “Mind Over Money” re-creates some of the new field’s most compelling experiments.

Viewers will see how the brains and bodies of Wall Street traders respond as they buy and sell stocks. They’ll watch as an ingenious experiment reveals how too many spending choices and the way they’re framed can overwhelm consumers’ ability to make rational decisions.

Through these entertaining real-life experiments, NOVA shows how mood, decision-making and economic activity are all tightly interwoven.

By delivering unexpected insights from leading analysts and powerful experiments, “Mind Over Money” exposes the mysterious and surprising nature of the two most powerful forces on our planet: the human mind and money.

NOVA is on Facebook, and you can follow @novapbs on Twitter.

Video

Preview: NOVA: Mind Over Money

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Watch Mind Over Money on PBS. See more from NOVA.

Above: In the face of the recent economic crash, can a new science that aims to incorporate human psychology into finance - behavioral economics - do better? "Mind Over Money" recreates some of the new field's most compelling experiments. We'll see how the brains and bodies of Wall Street traders respond as they buy and sell stocks. We'll watch as an ingenious experiment reveals how too many spending choices and the way they're framed can overwhelm consumers' ability to make rational decisions.