Serotonergic Genotypes, Neuroticism, and Financial Choices

PLoS ONE, 8 (1), January 2013

17 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2011 Last revised: 24 Apr 2014

See all articles by Camelia M. Kuhnen

Camelia M. Kuhnen

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School & NBER

Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin

Yale University - Department of Psychology

Brian Knutson

Stanford University - Psychology

Date Written: March 7, 2011

Abstract

Life financial outcomes carry a significant heritable component, but the mechanisms by which genes influence financial choices remain unclear. Focusing on a polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene (5-HTTLPR), we found that individuals possessing the short allele of this gene invested less in equities, were less engaged in actively making investment decisions, and had fewer credit lines. Short allele carriers also showed higher levels of the personality trait neuroticism, despite not differing from others with respect to cognitive skills, education, or wealth. Mediation analysis suggested that the presence of the 5-HTTLPR short allele decreased real life measures of financial risk taking through its influence on neuroticism. These findings show that 5-HTTLPR short allele carriers avoid risky and complex financial choices due to negative emotional reactions, and have implications for understanding and managing individual differences in financial choice.

Keywords: neuroeconomics, neurofinance, genetics, serotonin, financial risk taking, emotions

JEL Classification: C91, D81, G11

Suggested Citation

Kuhnen, Camelia M. and Samanez-Larkin, Gregory R. and Knutson, Brian, Serotonergic Genotypes, Neuroticism, and Financial Choices (March 7, 2011). PLoS ONE, 8 (1), January 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1780552 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1780552

Camelia M. Kuhnen (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School & NBER ( email )

Kenan-Flagler Business School
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3490
United States
(919) 9623284 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://public.kenan-flagler.unc.edu/faculty/kuhnenc/

Gregory R. Samanez-Larkin

Yale University - Department of Psychology ( email )

P.O. Box 208205
New Haven, CT 06520-8205
United States

Brian Knutson

Stanford University - Psychology ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650 723 7431 (Phone)
650 725 5699 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://psychology.stanford.edu/~knutson

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