SSCS Computing Systems Facilitate Investigation into the Psychology of Trading

University of Chicago researchers recently published their findings on the psychology of trading, having discovered that the regular practice of trading changes how the brain processes selling decisions, reducing the typical psychological bias against selling assets. The computational analysis for this study, which involved brain images, was quite intensive and required considerable use of the Division’s high-speed large-memory computational systems, which were designed with just such computing needs in mind. 

Mike Zachar, Director of Social Sciences Computing Services, pointed out:

Our systems are designed specifically for the sorts of computational problems that social scientists set out to solve. More so than in the natural sciences, our researchers require systems with massive amounts of available memory and very high-speed individual CPU’s, since many of the problems that social scientists deal with don’t lend themselves so neatly to parallelization as problems in the natural sciences. Our systems are intended to minimize the time it takes our researchers to analyze and reduce data. Our goal is to maximize academic output by creating a computing environment that expedites the exploration of a hypothesis.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is co-authored by Ali Hortaçsu, the Ralph and Mary Otis Isham Professor in Economics; John List, the Kenneth C. Griffin Distinguished Service Professor in Economics; Howard Nusbaum, professor of psychology; and UChicago graduate and staff researchers Lester C.P. Tong and Karen J. Ye. Additional co-authors are Kentaro Asai, a lecturer at Australian National University; and Seda Ertac, associate economics professor at Koç University in Turkey.