The herd can lead you right over the cliff… 盲目跟風隨時會讓你墮崖…

The herd can lead you right over the cliff…


Behavioural finance examines how psychology influences financial decisions. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that our psychology strongly influences these choices. 行為金融學主要研究投資者如何被心理影響投資決定。數據顯示,人的心理的確對於我們在投資市場上所做的決定有舉足輕重的影響。

How not to be a part of the herd when it comes to business decision-makingHave you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt you stuck out like a sore thumb? You may have experienced a great desire to conform in order to fit in with those around you. Pressure to conform comes from the unarticulated rules in our social surroundings, which have a powerful influence on our behaviour. 您有否曾經認為自己跟身邊人格格不入?您曾否試過跟隨別人喜好而喜歡同一種東西,或者做同一樣的事?基於社會或朋輩壓力而跟從某種不成文的規範,正正屬於「從眾行為」。

Some of our rules are written down in law or on signs, such as “No Parking” or the speed limit. But many have evolved over time, are unwritten and govern much of our behaviour, such as taking turns when speaking or queuing while waiting. 社會上有不少既定的規矩,例如「不准停車」或顯示車速限制的交通標誌等。同時,隨着時代演變, 社會上亦有很多普遍被潛移默化的行為規範,例如交談時不應打岔,或者輪候時必須排隊等等。

Without the need to conform, we could face social chaos. It is an innate function in humans, so that we can live in tribes, co-operate and share the gains from our endeavours. 如果沒有從眾行為, 社會有可能陷入一片混亂。我們依着本能的群體心態,同心合作,共同為社會出一分力, 一起收穫可觀的成果。

While research suggests powerful pressure to conform in people, conformity does not occur to the same degree in all situations. Age, the cohesiveness that binds a group, our admiration for those we copy and even the size of a group, all influence how much
one complies, along with individual differences. 研究顯示,雖然人類是因為受到社會強大的壓力而作出從眾行為,每個人跟隨群體規範的程度皆不盡相同。人的年齡、所屬群體的

Conformity seems to be driven by two powerful motives. First is the desire to have people approve of us. Second is the desire to be right by having an accurate understanding of the social world. 從眾的主因有二:渴望得到別人認同,或者想要突顯自己熟悉社會規範,而作出被普遍視為正確的行為。

How influential is conformity when we are uncertain about what is correct and what is incorrect? Conformity can have a powerful and disturbing social influence on our perceptions, behaviour and decisions. 當我們不肯定某事的對錯時,從眾心理的影響可以有多大?誠然,這種心態對於我們的想法,行為及决定有着深遠,甚或負面的影響。

Some classic studies on conformity were carried out by Solomon Asch beginning in 1951. Participants believed they were in an experiment on perception. Imagine yourself sitting down with a group of eight people. Unknown to you, they are all confederates in the
experiment. You are shown one card with a single black vertical line and another card with three black vertical lines. Only one of these three lines is remotely similar in length to the single line on the first card. 1951年, 美國著名心理學家Solomon Asch進行了一個有關從眾現象的經典實驗。當時,所有參加者均以為這是一個關於人類想法的研究。實驗過程中,一名參加者與七名偽裝成參加者的研究員共處一室。他們被展示兩張卡:第一張卡上有一條黑色直線;另一張卡上有三條長短各異的黑色直線,而當中只有一條跟第一張卡的黑線長度稍微接近。

Each person is asked to identify which of the three lines on the second card matches the single line on the first. To your astonishment, the participants, one by one, give the wrong response to such a simple task. Do you conform and give the wrong answer, or do you stand your ground? 每位參加者逐一被問到:第二張卡上哪一條線跟第一張卡上的黑線長度相同? 令人驚訝的是,所有參加者都得出錯誤的答案。在上述情況下,你會選擇「跟大隊」抑或堅持你認為正確的答案?

To his surprise, Asch found that three-quarters of those tested conformed to the wrong answer. 結果顯示,四分之三的參加者最終選擇盲從,給了錯的答案。

A business lady struggling with the fear of herd mentality

Investor conformity can be like animal herding. Sheep, for example, stick together for protection, and while at one moment the flock may be resting quietly, the slightest trigger can set them off into a panicked stampede. Flocks of sheep have been known to jump off cliffs. 投資者盲目跟風,就像動物聯群結隊一樣。例如,羊着喜歡集體活動,以策安全。無風無浪時,羊群靜靜地休憩、吃草;一旦有任何風吹草動,羊群就會如驚弓之鳥般倉皇逃跑,甚至墮下萬丈懸崖。

When it comes to investing, some people take a do-it-yourself approach, accessing the plethora of information and advice available. People who cannot use scientific methodologies in their decisions may fall back on intuition and instinct. 有些人會在作出投資決定前,先深入研究產品的各種資料及專家意見;亦有人不會善用科技資訊,全憑直覺。

What is possible in such scenarios is that herding drives some investors to buy on instinct rather than analysis, and bubbles can be created. Then investing can become a social event of discussions with friends, checking portfolios or watching CNBC or Bloomberg every day, hoping the price will go up any minute. 這時候,羊群心理很可能驅使部份投資者在倚靠直覺、全無分析的情況下盲目跟風,導致市場上出現投資泡沫。因此,討論投資心得或研究各種投資組合變成了跟朋友們茶餘飯後的話題;追看美國CNBC消費商業電視頻道或緊盯着彭博(Bloomberg)金融數據,期盼自己買入的產品價格上升,亦成為了每天必做之事。

There is a suggestion that even investment experts may occasionally exhibit herding behaviour. John Graham at Duke University developed an empirically supported theory, which he tested out on investment newsletter analysts. 另外,有人認為投資專家亦有可能間歇性展示羊群心理,美國杜克大學John Graham教授提出了一套由研究投資時事分析師表現所得出的實證支持理論。

The research suggests that if an analyst has a “high reputation” or “low ability”, or if there is strong public information that is inconsistent with the analyst’s private information, he or she is likely to herd. This is not to imply that all bulletin analysts show conformity, however. 此研究表示,若果一名投資分析師被視為可信度高,預測能力低,又或者分析師所得到的小道消息與公眾已知的大相逕庭,便可能發表大眾普遍認為是對的消息,但這並不代表所有分析師都會這樣做。

Sage investors base their decisions on sound advice and careful analysis. Being aware of biases that may influence our decision-making should help us to minimise them. 有智慧的投資者應當根據可靠消息,經過細心謹慎分析後,作出不偏頗的投資決定, 將一時衝動做錯決定的投資風險減到最低。

Author – Ms. Jennifer Bovard
is a registered organisational psychologist, specialising in recruitment and training. She is a part time academic at University of Sunderland in Hong Kong and a consultant in corporate training.

作者 – Jennifer Bovard女士
是一位專門研究人才招聘及培訓的註冊組織心理學家, 亦是英國新特蘭大學香港分校的兼職講師及企業培訓顧問。

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