Different forecasting behaviors affect investors’ trading decisions and lead to qualitatively different asset price trajectories. It has been shown in the literature that the weights that investors place on observed asset price changes when forecasting future price changes, and the nature of their confidence when price changes are forecast, determine whether price bubbles, price crashes, and unpredictable price cycles occur. In this paper, we report the results of behavioral experiments involving multiple investors who participated in a market for a virtual asset. Our goal is to study investors’ forecast formation. We conducted three experimental sessions with different participants in each session. We fit different models of forecast formation to the observed data. There is strong evidence that the investors forecast future prices by extrapolating past price changes, even when they know the fundamental value of the asset exactly and the extrapolated forecasts differ significantly from the fundamental value. The rational expectations hypothesis seems inconsistent with the observed forecasts. The forecasting models of all participants that best fit the observed forecasting data were of the type that cause price bubbles and cycles in dynamical systems models, and price bubbles and cycles ended up occurring in all three sessions.
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