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6.2 Eye Tracker Selections

This section discusses the conclusions drawn from the eye tracker results. Although both the eye tracker and self-report were complementary instruments to determine asset and portfolio allocations, both these selections do not necessarily match, i.e. those who select a prevention asset on the eye tracker may not select the prevention asset on the self-report. It is postulated that eye tracker may give insights into the type of information viewed by consumers, but does not provide clear indication of whether this information was used to make the associated financial decision on the self-report.

As in Sect. 5.3.1, females are more likely to look at the prevention asset for a proportionately longer time, compared to male participants. Research indicates that women are more financially risk averse than men (Bernasek and Shwiff 2001; Jianakoplos and Bernasek 1998; Olsen and Cox 2001) and that prevention focused individuals make more conservative investments (Kirmani and Zhu 2007). It is thus hypothesised that females would spend more time looking at the prevention- associated, less risky asset, due to their risk averse nature (Jianakoplos and Bernasek 1998).

In Sect. 5.3.2, those who are prevention focused and possess a higher degree are more likely to look at the prevention portfolio for a proportionately longer time. Knowledge acquired from formal schooling improves credit scores and reduces the probability of declaring bankruptcy (Cole et al. 2012). This may indicate that education results in more cautious and risk-averse behaviour. The effect of one's chronic prevention focus, linked to the preference of conservative investments (Kirmani and Zhu 2007), and education level may work in tandem to give rise to risk-averse behaviour, explaining why higher educated participants who are prevention-focused look at the less risky prevention-associated portfolio for a proportionately longer period of time.

As in Sects. 5.2.1 and 5.2.3, those who scored poorly on the financial literacy

test were less likely to look at the prevention asset and portfolio for a propor- tionately longer time. It is known that those who have low financial literacy are less likely to invest in the stock market (Rooij et al. 2007), and would thus be unfamiliar with stock. As such, they would be drawn to look at the riskier asset (stock) and portfolio that they are unfamiliar with, for a proportionately longer amount of time. It must be noted that the financial literacy test in this book was more of a check to make sure that the original screening for financial literacy was effective, rather than an actual measure of financial literacy. Thus, further analysis into the financial literacy variable was not conducted.

As indicated in Sect. 5.2.1, participants who are prevention focused are less likely to look at the prevention asset for a proportionately longer time, compared to promotion-focused participants. It may be that the chronic prevention-focused participants' thought process is reflected in their likelihood to spend proportionately more time on the promotion asset. This may be due to their emphasis on accuracy (Pham and Chang 2010) and need to avoid mismatches to their goals, considering only clearly suitable choices (Zhu and Meyers-Levy 2007).

6.2.1 Decision-Making Process

Academics are divided with regard to whether eye movement reflects one's mental processes and subsequent decisions. Certain research indicates that eye movements reflect the thought process (Lohse 1997) but other studies indicate that resulting fixation patterns may not indicate one's attention, only where the eye has been viewing (Wright and Ward 2008). This book provides support for the view that eye tracking may not necessarily imply a corresponding thought process.

In this book, the eye tracker and self-report measure were instruments to determine the asset and portfolio selections of participants. The eye tracking results indicate that while participants may look proportionately longer at certain assets or portfolios, they may not select the same item on the self-report measure. It is postulated that the eye tracker may give insights into the type of information viewed by participants, but does not provide strong indication of whether this information was used to make an associated financial decision. It is necessary to use the eye tracker in tandem with more advanced devices, such as the fMRI[1] and EEG.[2] These devices, along with the eye tracker, will provide a deeper understanding of the processes that lead to one's related financial decision.

  • [1] fMRI (Functional magnetic resonance imaging) is a procedure that measures brain activity by detecting associated changes in blood flow
  • [2] In this case, the EEG (Electroencephalography) refers to the device that records electrical activity along the scalp. The EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flow within the neurons of the brain
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