Category Archives: Lab News

2020 in Review

The year 2020 was, to say the least, an interesting period of time. When the COVID-19 virus was first identified, followed by the declaration of a pandemic in the United States, the University of Georgia moved entirely to an online teaching format. The on-campus LAB closed in April, effectively shutting down all of our psychophysiological and EEG experimental and clinical work. As of February 2021, the Lab was still closed.

This does not mean, however, that those affiliated with the Lab were unproductive. In fact, the opposite is true. This figure illustrates what and where papers were published in 2020.

Happy New Year from the Lab

This past year has been exciting and productive. Faculty and students published 10 peer-reviewed journal articles on topics ranging from physiological stress reactions during planning sessions to the determinants of financial risk tolerance. Dr. Grable’s latest book–the Case Approach to Financial Planning–was also published this year. A highlight for the year is that the following students graduated with their doctoral degree:

Abed Rabbani (now at the University of Missouri)

Wookjae Heo (now at the University of South Dakota)

Jorge Ruiz-Menjivar (now at the University of Florida)

Stephen Kuzniak (now at Cannon Financial)

We will highlight their dissertation work in 2017.

We are so thankful for the support of colleagues, students, and sponsors. This year, the work of the Lab would not have been possible without the generous financial support of Data Points. We look forward to working with Data Points and Sarah Fallaw in 2017!



Data Points Visit

We were thrilled to have Sarah Fallaw of Data Points visit the Lab earlier this week. While she was on campus she met with students and talked about the role financial socialization as a child can influence later life wealth accumulation.


Congratulations to the Lab’s Newest Ph.D.s

May 2016 marks a significant milestone for three colleagues who are affiliated with the Lab. We are proud to announce the graduation of the following individuals from the financial planning program at the University of Georgia:

Dr. Wookjae Heo: South Dakota State University

Dr. Abed Rabbani: University of Missouri

Dr. Jorge Ruiz-Menjivar: University of Florida

Their work in the field of financial planning is groundbreaking. Dr. Heo’s research into the determinants of life insurance demand has the potential to change the way insurance firms conceptualize the marketplace. Dr. Rabbani’s work advances the field’s understanding of how feelings influence risk-tolerance attitudes. Dr. Ruiz-Menjivar’s research will prompt new discussions about the way risk attitudes are assessed. We wish these three scholars well in their new positions!

Much to be Thankful for this Year

As 2015 comes to an end, and as we take a day to express our gratitude for all the good things that have happened this year, everyone in the Lab would like to say thank you for all the comments, input, and ideas that have come our way. We are particularly thankful to the following organizations for their support this year — without these firms our work would never be as strong as it is:

DataPoints — thank you for supporting our graduate students

Merrill Lynch — thank you for supporting the next generation of students entering the profession

Finametrica — thank you for allowing us to conceptualize risk tolerance in unique ways

TDAmeritrade Institutional — thank you for providing a space that our students can use to become better scholars

We know that 2016 will be even more exciting and productive. Keep an eye out for new research coming from those working in the Lab! Happy Thanksgiving.

Lab Wins Award

Researchers working in the Financial Planning Performance Lab at the University of Georgia won a national research award at this year’s Financial Therapy Association conference in Nashville, TN. John Grable, Wookjae Heo, and Abed Rabbani won the Journal of Financial Therapy’s outstanding paper for Financial Anxiety, Physiological Arousal, and Planning Intention. According to the Journal’s editor, Dr. Kristy Archuleta, “We are very excited about the work these authors are doing and look forward to publishing their paper.” The final version of the paper will appear in the Journal of Financial Therapy (

Results from this exploratory clinical study indicate that financial anxiety—holding an unhealthy attitude about one’s financial situation—and physiological arousal—the physical precursor to behavior—play important roles in shaping consumer intention to engage in future financial planning activity. Findings suggest that those who are most likely to engage the services of a financial adviser exhibit low levels of financial anxiety and moderate to high levels of physiological arousal. The least likely to seek the help of a financial adviser are those who exhibit high financial anxiety and low physiological arousal. Results support findings documented in the literature that high anxiety levels often lead to a form of self-imposed helplessness. In order to move those experiencing financial anxiety towards financial solutions, financial advisers ought to take steps to simultaneously reduce financial stressors and stimulate arousal as a way to promote behavioral change and help seeking.