Study Draws Parallels Between Stockbrokers and Psychopaths

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Study Draws Parallels Between Stockbrokers and Psychopaths

Post by Admin on Mon Sep 26, 2011 10:35 pm


Various studies have suggested that a certain kind of psychological profile gravitates toward the fast-paced, high-pressure environment of the trading floor -- and that this profile probably has more than a little in common with psychopathic personality, a clinical condition marked by gregariousness, impulsiveness, dishonesty and lack of empathy.

A recent study from the University of St. Gallen, in Switzerland, goes one step further. The research, led by forensics expert Pascal Scherrer and prison administrator Thomas Noll, finds that professional stock traders actually outperform diagnosed psychopaths when it comes to competitive and risk-taking behavior.

According to Der Spiegel, Scherrer and Noll had a group of 28 stockbrokers participate in various simulations and intelligence tests, and then compared their results to a group of psychopaths.

They found that the traders showed a higher degree of competitiveness than the psychopaths -- and that the traders were surprisingly willing to cause harm to their competitors if they thought it would bring them an advantage.

It seems unlikely that recent market woes have been caused by an over-eagerness to take risks. Rather, the single-day market plunges of August and September appear to have been linked to widespread risk aversion among traders. In other words, fear, not boldness, has been the cause of the summer's major sell-offs.

Scherrer and Noll are not the first to suggest a correlation between success on Wall Street and mental pathology. In 2005, a study found that traders who are unable to fully feel their emotions due to brain damage end up performing better on the market -- possibly because they experience less anxiety about risky trades.

At the time, one professor of neurology described such emotionally impaired traders as "functional psychopaths."

Another research project that concluded in 1996 found that some percentage of both stockbrokers and politicians display many traits characteristic of psychopathic personality, including a willingness to take risks and an interest in wielding power.

And as Chris Barth at Forbes points out, Bret Easton Ellis was comparing stockbrokers with the seriously mentally ill as early as 1991, with his novel American Psycho.

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Re: Study Draws Parallels Between Stockbrokers and Psychopaths

Post by Rev Scare on Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:46 am

This comes as no surprise to anybody who has read or watched The Corporation or understands the logic of capitalism, markets, and competitive systems in general. Simply put, psychopathy is a functional component of capitalism. I don't buy into the notion that most of these individuals can truly be described as sociopaths outside of their profession, but characteristics associated with sociopaths, such as confidence, assertiveness, fearlessness, etc., are conducive to successful profiteering. They are also important qualities in a leader, so it comes as little surprise that politicians would exhibit them. However, we live in a society that promotes selfish and neglectful behavior: our politicians profit from deceit, and capitalists profit from exploitation. This exacerbates problems stemming from these traits being taken to an extreme.

I respect the individual in the following video for his candor. He expresses the mentality that we have allowed to gain preponderance as far as measuring "success" is concerned; he represents what we have allowed our societies to become.

Trader Alessio Rastani To BBC: 'Governments Don't Rule The World, Goldman Sachs Rules The World'


Goldman Sachs rules the world and the Euro zone is poised to crash, according to trader Alessio Rastani.

"This is not a time right now for wishful thinking that governments are going to sort things out," Rastani said on an interview with BBC on Monday morning. "The governments don't rule the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world."

The statement came towards the end of an almost three and a half minute interview in which Rastani warned viewers to "get prepared" for the inevitable: "The savings of millions of people are going to vanish" in less than a year, he said.

"This economic crisis is like a cancer, if you just wait and wait thinking this will go away, just like a cancer it's going to grow and it's going to be too late," he continued.'

Fear over the fragility of the European economy has become pronounced in recent weeks. Prompted in part by concerns that the region could enter recession and affect the global economy, stocks composing the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered their worst week since 2008 last week, according to Reuters.

In spite of statements like Rastani's, Euro policymakers continue to press ahead with possible reforms. Currently, they are working to bolster their 440 billion-euro rescue fund, after being criticized by leaders from both China and the U.S. for letting Greece's debt crisis already wreak havoc on global stocks, according to Reuters.

But the crash will be good news for traders, Rastani told the stunned BBC anchors.

"For most traders we don't really care about having a fixed economy, having a fixed situation, our job is to make money from it," he said. "Personally, I've been dreaming of this moment for three years. I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession."

Rastani said traders aren't the only ones who can benefit from the crisis.

"When the market crashes... if you know what to do, if you have the right plan set up, you can make a lot of money from this."


Last edited by Rev Scare on Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:56 pm; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Study Draws Parallels Between Stockbrokers and Psychopaths

Post by Altair on Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:42 am

I saw the "Governments don't rule the world, Goldman Sachs rule the world" quote yesterday on a socialist blog and found it to be quite fitting. Big corporations, Wall Street...they are what run our government, this is true. It is a truly comical relationship, when the money hungry decide what the government should be doing instead of vice-versa. It reminds me very much of a leech to its host.

His quote "I go to bed every night and dream of another recession", is bold, and has to be said in order to reach those who have perhaps become disillusioned in regard to this matter.

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