Grace Chou owns no stocks herself, she says, but as a child she watched the financial news with her Dad, and her Mom taught her to read the stock pages.
Now thanks to UROP, the 19-year-old junior — a management major who plans to become a stock analyst — has discovered that there’s more to business than just economics.
For the past year, Chou has worked on a project with Prof. Dan Ariely, an expert in behavioral finance — a field that combines economics and psychology. The team’s research will help determine an investor’s decision to buy and sell. They hope their findings will help investors cope with the volatility of the stock market.
Recently, Chou asked 150 people to play a game on her laptop to determine that if one’s options were to become unavailable, if it would be an incentive and the answer was yes.
“It’s funny,” she says. “Economics studies how people should behave, but psychology studies how people actually behave. The results have been amazing.
“You wouldn’t think that even if an option is a bad one, people would still try to keep it open, but they do. I learned that if an option won’t be around forever, it just becomes much more valuable.”
Collaborating with a professor, she says, has been great. “I’ve learned so much from him, and it feels so amazing to actually be contributing to the world. Most 19-year-olds never get the opportunity to do actual research.”
And thanks to UROP, Chou says, she discovered behavioral finance, a field she never knew existed.
“I never thought I’d be studying psychology. I always thought I’d stick to business. But now I see that psychology is a way to look at business from a deeper dimension. Because of UROP, I’ve found a new field I love.”