Behavioral finance FAQ / Glossary (Salience)

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This is a separate page of the S section of the Glossary

 

Dates of related message(s) in the
Behavioral-Finance group (*):
Year/month, d: developed / discussed,
i: incidental

Salience, saliency, salient


01/11i + see reaction, weak signal,
percolation threshold,
attention bias,
cognitive overload, spotlight stock,
availability heuristic

 

Attention getter

Salient enough? Larger stars on demand!

Definition:

Salience is the capability of a "stimulus" (an event,
an information, a sign or whatever...) to readily attract
attention
and make the receiver react.

A salient information is the opposite of a "weak signal" ,
and even more of a "noise" (see the related articles).

And also of course the opposite of ...nothing!
Except that an absence of signal could be telltale also.

Salience in asset markets

Flashy posters try to get your attention on the market wall.
can create confusion about the quality
of the displayed food
(salient information vs. relevant information).

Salience plays a part in asset market prices and returns.

Some very visible / eye-catching / striking / conspicuous
   events (or traits) can have immediate and strong
             impacts.

A company gets (or fails to get) a huge contract for example.


Some less blatant information stay unnoticed by investors,
   or have
no immediate price incidence

    ...although they might prove later  to have been as important - or 

       even more important - for the  asset's destiny.

This shows a time-salience:

Some stimuli need to be received for a sizeable amount of
time
and enough repetitions (see lag, latency) before bringing
responses
from those who receive it.

It is a cumulative effect that has some similitude with the
percolation threshold.


Although it is not completely related, a study has shown that a stock
   name that is easy
to spell and pronounce (and to remember)
   is apter to attract investors  than a complicated / obscure one.

Man-made salience

Presenting the best face and the easiest to grasp messages...
...whatever their truth or relevancy

To create salient messages, such a "catch phrases" or pregnant pictures,
is a of course a deliberate technique in communication.

The opposite "smart" tricks are allusions, understatements, subliminal
messages...

Salience could even be used as manipulation or bait,
by diverting the attention of the people receiving the information.

A firm could, when presenting its situation to investors  

or lenders, stress favorable data in a salient and rosy-colored way,

while insisting less on unfavorable ones.
This is a subtle form of "framing" (see that word).


Also, to repeat often some information
  
(even false news), creates a time-salience that entices to act according
  
to that information.

This works like a hammer hitting the same nail again and again.

Goebbels, a devilish propagandist, said:

"If you repeat one thousand times a falsehood, it becomes a truth",


Some messages might be emotionally salient / emotion raising by 

playing on the receiver's feelings.

Also they might give more weight to what is his / her dominant mental

interest at the moment.

All this catches the receiver's attention (see selective attention), even if
there is no direct relation between that bait and the message
topic or goal (red herring).

(*) To find those messages: reach that BF group and, once there,
      1) click "messages", 2) enter your query in "search archives".

Members of the Behavioral Finance Group, please
vote on the glossary quality at
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This page last update: 30/09/14  

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