Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Patrick Van Horn

Reader 2

Joshua Tasoff

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© 2018 Kira K Gabriel


Previous literature has produced mixed findings of a tendency of investors, coined the “ostrich effect” to display a preference for avoiding potentially painful information regarding their portfolios. This paper investigates the presence of the ostrich effect during the 2008/2009 financial crisis via a survey of investors who held portfolios before and through that period. The results demonstrate that most investors do not report any ostrich effect. However, approximately one fourth of investors demonstrated a preference for delaying learning about potentially negative portfolio information, but ultimately chose to learn the information. These findings provide a more nuanced understanding of investors’ behaviors during financial crises and supports a more specific definition of the ostrich effect. Specifically, that some investors prefer a delay in painful information acquisition but do no indefinitely “keep their heads in the sand.”

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.