An ALE Meta-Analysis on Investment Decision-Making

Brain Sci. 2021 Mar 21;11(3):399. doi: 10.3390/brainsci11030399.


It is claimed that investment decision-making should rely on rational analyses based on facts and not emotions. However, trying to make money out of market forecasts can trigger all types of emotional responses. As the question on how investors decide remains controversial, we carried out an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies that have reported whole-brain analyses on subjects performing an investment task. We identified the ventral striatum, anterior insula, amygdala and anterior cingulate cortex as being involved in this decision-making process. These regions are limbic-related structures which respond to reward, risk and emotional conflict. Our findings support the notion that investment choices are emotional decisions that take into account market information, individual preferences and beliefs.

Keywords: amygdala; anterior cingulate cortex; anterior insula; investor; neuroeconomics; reward; risk; stock; ventral striatum.

Publication types

  • Review