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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/charlie-as-ive-written-before-the-problem-in-18057128.aspx

Subject:  Re: OT: the Role of Psychology in Investing Date:  10/27/2002  12:46 PM
Author:  iamdb Number:  5041 of 35272

Charlie,

As I've written before, the problem in studying complex behavior is that people bring so much in the way of previous experience and such differing ability to each decision that scientific study is near impossible. Sure, we can observe a lot of people, and come up with more or less broad classifications, but do those classifications have any value in predictiing other complex behaviour ? I doubt it. Obviously we use our own intuitive classifications every day when dealing with others. Good poker players use such judgement regularly in the limited area of betting a hand.

The only convinincing (to me) approach to personality theory is the factor analytic approach, and when I took Guilford's class I think he was close to 100 factors. As I recall, Guilford believed he had good classification technique, but I don't think he believed it had predictive value. The Myers-Briggs approach is a short cut to a factor analytic classification. By the way, I would fall between an INTJ and an ENTJ in the simple classification that results from the four question inventory. I do enjoy spending time by myself and I don't particularly enjoy parties, but I'm good at public speaking and I do initiate converstations with strangers.

I'm afraid we're all a tangle of complex thoughts, and the decisions we make from which behaviour can be observed are rarely consistent.

Disclosure: I was trained as an experimental psychologist, specializing in binaural auditory processes, but most of my career I directed a high tech group that developed speech recognition. There have been efforts by several excellent experimental psychologists to reify the principles of personal theroies, but those efforts have failed to account for the data according to the authors of the studies.

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