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July 24, 2021

Making smarter decisions: Graeme Newell: Behavioural Finance Researcher via Brain Science with Jonathan Bowman-Perks

Podcast Details

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Be aware that fear motivates us more. Consider what problem you wish to solve and pain you wish to take away. Fear is underpinned by the fight or flight reflex. We hate losing twice as much as winning
  1. Graeme Newell – Making Smarter Decisions – Behavioural finance research

Graeme Newell is a behavioral finance speaker and brain science researcher. He takes twisted pleasure in putting business leaders, employees and customers inside of brain scanners then mapping the parts of their brain that light up as they make money decisions.  


Graeme is an expert in how our subconscious brain tempts us to misstep. He shows business leaders the situations when they’re most vulnerable to impulsive decision making.  


Graeme began is career as a television producer, working with companies like CNN, CNBC and CBS News. This is what led to his habit of creating an incessant stream of online videos.  He produces about 100 videos each year. In his spare time, Graeme mentors online content creators in how to build studios and use the latest video tools. 


Graeme started his company, 602 Communications, in the late 90s. He did consulting and training work, showing companies how to increase engagement on promotion and marketing. He worked with companies like Disney, Sony, GE, Madison Square Garden and other businesses in 21 different countries around the world. 


Next, Graeme moved on to the advertising and marketing world doing research testing of commercials and marketing materials for large media companies. This is where he was introduced to the world of neuroscience testing and just how wickedly effective it could be at spotting bad marketing. 


Graeme put people inside of brain scanners, then showed them ads. The neuroscience testing clearly showed just how engage people really were with specific marketing materials.  What was amazing was that people often professed to love an ad, but the brain scanners clearly showed they were not into it. What he found is that oftentimes, people wanted to believe they liked something, even if their subconscious beliefs disagreed. There is a saying in the world of brain science.  If you want to know how someone really feels about something, one of the worst things you can do is ask them.  


While Graeme was doing neuro-testing of financial services ads, he noticed a very peculiar result. Even the mention of this threatening topic caused people’s brains to light up like a Christmas tree. Money decisions were so incredibly threatening, that most people tended to make really bad choices. 


A lot of us believe our business decisions are primarily based on cold hard reason of the facts. New neuroscience research is revealing that nothing could be further from the truth. We primarily make decisions with our subconscious brain. Financial decisions are a tug of war between the conscious brain and the subconscious desires that can tempt us to make bad decisions.  


Smart, capable business leaders can make crazy bad decisions when their brain gets taken over by impulsive emotion. Using neuroscience testing, Graeme tracks the specific behaviors that signal a bad choice is likely. Graeme shows financial professionals the situations when they’re most vulnerable to impulsive decision-making. Then, he shows them how to quickly get back on track.  


These days, Graeme is primarily a professional speaker on behavioral finance. Everyone can make smarter money decisions but we’ve got to learn the most common ways that our very flawed brains tend to misstep. Graeme shows audiences the moments when they’re most vulnerable and how to break the pattern of impulsive decision-making before it costs them money. 


Graeme lives in Portland Oregon where most of his closest family live just a few minutes away. He is an avid hiker and gym rat. 


Graeme has a bad non-fiction reading habit and relentlessly torments his friends by sharing an endless torrent of fact minutia. He reads around 100 books a year, primarily on psychology, brain science, cosmology and history.

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