This column, many books, and some professors’ entire lifetimes are devoted to the study of behavioral economics — that place in our economy and our bank accounts and our minds where human psychology and financial decision-making intersect.
And it’s complicated. The human psyche possesses a vast potential for rational calculation and logical thought. But it also possesses a vast potential for making business and financial decisions from a place of over-emotionality; illogical, flawed reasoning; and a wide variety of miscalculations, both overly pessimistic and overly optimistic.
Many of the decisions that wound individual homeowners and the collective of American homeowners in the boiling, roiling hot water of the real estate recession — which scalded every other sector of virtually every national economy on the globe, to some degree — were deeply flawed when viewed in that 20/20 vision that comes with hindsight.
So it doesn’t surprise that in the last few years, the work of deconstructing, understanding, analyzing and predicting the psychology-driven behavior of real estate consumers has become a cottage industry.