Psychopaths More Cautious Than Stockbrokers

Stock traders prove more reckless, ruthless in simulations, tests
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2011 11:00 AM CDT
Specialists work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in New York.   (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano)

(Newser) – Don’t call rogue traders like Kweku Adoboli a psycho—because that may not be fair to psychos. A new study from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland pitted a group of stockbrokers against a group of actual psychopaths in various computer simulations and intelligence tests, and found that the money men were significantly more reckless, competitive, and manipulative.

“Naturally one can’t characterize the traders as deranged,” a prison administrator who co-authored the study tells Der Spiegel. But “they behaved more egotistically and were more willing to take risks.” The traders weren’t even attempting to maximize their scores so much as gain a competitive edge. “They spent a lot of energy trying to damage their opponents,” the administrator said, likening it to a man who owns the same car as his neighbor—and bashes that neighbor’s car with a baseball bat so his will look better by comparison.

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