MARKEY CYCLES PSYCHOLOGY | EMOTIONS & COGNITIVE BIASES
Updated: Feb 3
All markets go through cycles of expansion and contraction.
📈When a market is in an expansion phase (an uptrend), there is a sentiment of optimism, belief, and greed. Typically, these are the main emotions that lead to a strong buying activity.
Sometimes, a strong sense of greed and belief overtakes the market in such a way that a financial bubble can form. In such a scenario, many investors become irrational, losing sight of the actual value and buying an asset only because they believe the market will continue to rise.
They get greedy and irrational by the impressive bullish movement, expecting to make huge profits. As the market gets heavily overbought, the local top is created. In general, this is considered to be the point of the highest risk.
In some cases, the market will start a sideways movement while smart money steadily sells the asset. This is also called the distribution stage. However, some markets don't present a clear distribution stage, and the downtrend starts sharply after the top is reached.
📉 When the market starts reversing, the euphoric mood can quickly turn into complacency, as many traders refuse to admit that the uptrend came to an end. As prices continue to fall, the market sentiment quickly moves to the bearish side. It often includes feelings of anxiety, denial, and panic.
In this context, by the anxiety we mean the moment when bullish biased market participants start to question why the price is falling, which soon leads to the denial stage. The denial period is marked by a sense of unacceptance. Many investors keep holding their losing positions, either because "it's too late to sell" or because they want still believe that "the market will come back soon."
But as the prices drop even lower, the selling wave gets stronger. At this point, fear and panic often lead to what is called a market capitulation (when holders give up and sell their assets close to the local bottom).
Eventually, the downtrend stops as the volatility decreases and the market stabilizes. Typically, the market experiences sideways movements before feelings of hope and optimism start arising again. Such a sideways period is called the accumulation stage.