Attention of Investors

Last registered on October 15, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

Attention of Investors
Initial registration date
October 13, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 15, 2021, 4:21 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

Carnegie Mellon University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
Nottingham University
PI Affiliation
University of Warwick

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This experiment is designed to test whether investors pay more attention to good news about a stock than to bad news. We will recruit individuals who have been invested in at least one individual stock for at least 6 months. In an initial survey, we will ask them for the name of the stock with the greatest total valuation of shares that they have been holding for at least 6 months. Then, we will send them an email giving them information about their stock's performance over the last 6 months. Finally, we will send out a survey asking them to recall information that they received in the email about their stock's performance. Our prediction is that they will be more likely to recall information when their stock went up, or went up relative to the S&P.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Gathergood, John et al. 2021. "Attention of Investors." AEA RCT Registry. October 15.
Experimental Details


This is not mainly an intervention study. The main IV is whether the individual's stock rose or fell over the 6 month period, and whether it rose or fell relative to the S&P index.

The only intervention is whether, in the email that shows participants information about their stock's performance we include a line that, following "Please fill out the survey below" (which all participants receive), says "which will prompt you with questions about your stock's performance." We do not predict that this will have a substantial impact, but include the additional words as a check on the robustness of the phenomenon.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Test of their memory for the information, which we provide in the email, about their stock's performance over the last 6 months.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
For each of the memory questions, the individual might recall the information, misremember it, or report that they cannot recall it. We will code each of these variables as a "1" if they correctly recall the information, and a "0" if they misremember it or cannot recall it. For questions asking for numbers, we will count them as recalling the information if they are within plus or minus 25% of the correct answer. We will then add up ones and zeros to create a single composite memory index.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We will also examine memory questions individually.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The main IV for the experiment arises from natural variation: specifically, whether their stock gained or lost value over the 6 month period, and whether it gained or lost value relative to the S&P. The only manipulation in the experiment is whether we inform them that they are going to be asked questions about their stock's performance.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization will be performed by Qualtrics.
Randomization Unit
individual investor
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 250 individuals (depending on our ability to recruit)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
A total sample of 216 individuals, 108 individuals per group of investors who have held stocks under/overperforming the S&P500, must be obtained to detect an absolute difference of 0.20 between proportions of correctanswers with 90% power using a two-sided 5% Two-sample comparison of proportions power calculation.
Supporting Documents and Materials

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Carnegie Mellon IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information


Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials