Texas Tech University

Dr. Eric Walden Wins Best Paper From the Journal of Real Estate Research

July 7, 2017

Eric Walden

Dr. Eric Walden - director of the Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute, director of the Data Science Program, and the James C. Wetherbe Professor of Information Systems and Quantitative Sciences - was awarded best paper from the Journal of Real Estate Research for his paper, "Using Neurological Evidence to Differentiate Between Informational and Social Herding Among Strategic Mortgage Defaulters." This is the fourth time he has been published in the journal since 2014 and the third Best Paper Award he has earned for the Rawls College. In addition to receiving a plaque for this accomplishment, the award also comes with $1000 cash prize.

The paper was co-authored by Dr. Micheal Sieler, K. Dane Brooksher Endowed Chair Professor of Real Estate and Finance at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. The collaboration between Walden's fMRI knowledge and Seiler's real estate experience is an excellent example of cross-disciplinary cooperation, and was key to the paper's success.

This is a great honor for the Area of Finance and the Area of Information Systems and Quantitative Sciences. Please join the Rawls College in congratulating Dr. Walden.


Great debate is being waged between whether strategic mortgage defaulters follow a herd for social reasons or mimic others' behavior for informational gain purposes. Using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), the latest neurological technology allowing for observation of brain activity during strategic mortgage default decision-making, we find that when defaulters learn of peer default behavior, they acknowledge the social component of the decision, but feel freer to make their own decisions. Alternatively, when observing the behavior of a maven (real estate expert), borrowers still consider the social aspect of the decision (although to a lesser extent), but ultimately follow the maven who presumably possesses a greater information set.  Alarmingly, borrowers only significantly follow the herd when mavens advocate strategic default, not when they recommend against it.

This supports the efforts outlined in the Rawls College of Business Strategic Plan. Learn more about the LEADER 2020 Strategic Plan and follow our progress on Twitter at #RawlsLeads.