Even if you haven’t heard of loss aversion, you’ve probably experienced it.It’s the phenomenon that we feel the pain of losing money more than the joy of gaining it—causing us to make some irrational choices.Loss aversion is depicted by the ten-dollar movie ticket situation.After purchasing a movie ticket and losing it from a hole in your pocket, less than half of people would buy another ticket. But almost nine out of 10 people would buy a movie ticket even if they realized they lost $10 on the way to the box office.It’s the same $10—we just think of the amount of money differently, depending on the situation.Scientists learn how we respond to money by looking at the brain as we’re exposed to stimuli. In one study, patients on medication that increased dopamine levels (chemicals that activate our reward centers) had stronger shopping and gambling compulsions. And our responses to status symbols (a Gucci bag, perhaps?) can be more hardwired than personality quirks!QUIZ: Are You Satisfied with Your Life?