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Brain Scans Light the Way to Do-It-Yourself Investing

September was “hell on earth” for Walter Ribeiro. A 29-year-old resident of Dublin with Portuguese and Brazilian roots, Ribeiro is heavily invested in Brazilian stocks that were slammed last month. A 21-percent gain for his portfolio year-to-date turned into a 10 percent loss.

“You can find yourself thinking about stocks all day,” Ribeiro, a full-time project manager and part-time college student, says of his mood then. “I really started to doubt myself: Why did I do that? Am I really doing the right thing?” On weeks his stocks did really badly, he would cancel weekend plans.