Below is the second of eight new articles by Olivia Mellan and Sherry Christie that continue the discussion on Your Client’s Brain that began with Investment Advisor’s February 2013 cover story—Double Think: Getting Past the Conflict in Your Clients’ Two Brains—and a feature article—Second Thoughts: Making Better Decisions—in the March 2013 issue of IA.
In those articles, Mellan and Sherry shared the latest findings on the brain and suggested how that knowledge can be used by advisors to better understand their clients, and to help their clients make better decisions.
Human brains are structured to react swiftly and forcefully to negative stimuli such as social aggression and other potential hazards. Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson explained that this “negativity bias” dates back to caveman days, when we could take time contemplating such positive rewards as food and shelter, but had to react instantly to possible life-or-death threats. (This is also why we acquire strong dislikes more quickly than strong likes, Hanson noted.)
A certain amount of stress can make us more engaged and productive, as AdvisorOne.com columnist Angie Herbers noted last July in “Stress for Success.” But when the level of stress passes a certain point, our performance starts to fall off. Trying to compensate by pushing ourselves and those around us merely increases the stress.