Chipping away at the task is Canterbury University's own Dr Maroš Servátka, an experimental economist who's spent more than 12 years exploring how and why people make economic decisions.
"One of my experiments looks at why people decide to hold on to stock - or buy more - even when the facts clearly suggest they are trading in a share market bubble.
"I want to know what motivates people to behave the way they do. Is it unrealistic optimism? Is it blind faith in their ability to out-smart the market? Are they simply following the herd?"
According to Dr Servátka, all three answers are borne out when he simulates a share market bubble in the university's state-of-the-art economics laboratory, the New Zealand Experimental Economics Laboratory.
Dr Servátka's experiment is designed to clearly identify the reasons why market participants choose to buy or sell shares throughout a carefully constructed share market cycle, using cash as an incentive.
"We pay participants for each economic decision they make. It's a very real incentive and stimulates real, everyday market behaviour."
Inevitably he sees students continuing to buy shares - even after the share price has surpassed its fundamental value, he says.
"Results show their behaviour is predominantly fuelled by a desire to make money and the belief they'll sell their shares at a high price before anyone else start selling theirs. They think they're smarter than their fellow participants.
"Typically we also see demand for shares and the stock price drop sharply as people realise the trading cycle is about to wrap up, along with their ability to get top dollar for their shares. Usually others follow and we see a market avalanche of sorts," says Dr Servátka.
Dr Servátka, originally from Slovakia, says his branch of experimental economics aims to test economic theories, design new market institutions and accurately predict how proposed policies might unfold in the field.
The ultimate goal, he says, is to better understand economic phenomena and help people, businesses and governments make better economic decisions.
"We all know it's extremely difficult to accurately predict how the share market is likely to perform - precisely when it is likely to peak or the moment an economic bubble is due to burst.
"There are too many unknown variables and many things we can't observe, which is why we use the lab. We want to make these variables observable in laboratory conditions and systematically study them.
"It's about shedding light on the human behaviour underpinning it all. It's about observing what we do and asking ourselves: Is this the most efficient way to behave? What drives the observed behaviour? Are there other market incentives or different market institutions we can put in place to bring about different behaviour?'."