March 3, 2021

Stock market fluctuations impact the emotional brain on a population level.

Previous research suggests that market and population well-being are related. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Using UK-biobank data we confirmed a significant association between a local stock market index (FTSE100) and mood of 479,791 subjects, and demonstrated that FTSE100 exhibits significant association with volumetric measures of the brain regions involved in affective processing in 39,755 subjects. Market decline (lower index scores) was associated with larger volumes of amygdala, nucleus accumbens, and orbitofrontal cortex, whereas insula and cingulate cortex exhibited opposite relationship. The effects were particularly strong in lowest- and highest-income citizens. More distant markets had a weaker relation to these regions. Toda-Yamamoto Granger causality tests indicated that the direct market-brain path is stronger than the opposite. Our findings suggest how global events impact the population brain encouraging sustainable and well-being-oriented economic decision-making.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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