How do investors use market psychology?
Assuming that the theory of market psychology is valid, understanding it may help a trader to enter and exit positions at more favorable times. The general attitude of the market is counterproductive: the moment of highest financial opportunity (for a buyer) usually comes when most people are hopeless, and the market is very low. In contrast, the moment of highest financial risk often arises when the majority of the market participants are euphoric and overconfident.
Thus, some traders and investors try to read the sentiment of a market to spot the different stages of its psychological cycles. Ideally, they would use this information to buy when there is panic (lower prices) and sell when there is greed (higher prices). In practice, though, recognizing these optimal points is rarely an easy task. What might seem like the local bottom (support) may fail to hold, leading to even lower lows.
Technical analysis and market psychology
It is easy to look back at market cycles and recognize how the overall psychology changed. Analyzing previous data makes it obvious what actions and decisions would have been the most profitable.
However, it is much harder to understand how the market is changing as it goes - and even harder to predict what comes next. Many investors use technical analysis (TA) to attempt to anticipate where the market is likely to go.
In a sense, we may say that TA indicators are tools that may be used when trying to measure the psychological state of the market. For instance, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) indicator may suggest when an asset is overbought due to a strong positive market sentiment (e.g., excessive greed).
The MACD is another example of an indicator that may be used to spot the different psychological stages of a market cycle. In short, the relation between its lines may indicate when market momentum is changing (e.g., buying force is getting weaker).