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September 23, 2005

Psychopaths could be best financial traders?

LONDON (Reuters) - "Wanted: psychopaths to make a killing in the markets."
Such an advert will not be appearing in the world's newspapers any time soon, but it may have a ring of truth after research revealed the best wheeler-dealers could well be "functional psychopaths."

A team of U.S. scientists has found the emotionally impaired are more willing to gamble for high stakes and that people with brain damage may make good financial decisions, the Times newspaper reported Monday.

In a study of investors' behavior 41 people with normal IQs were asked to play a simple investment game. Fifteen of the group had suffered lesions on the areas of the brain that affect emotions.

The result was those with brain damage outperformed those without.

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September 23, 2005 in Info, Reality | Permalink


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Often the terms "sociopath," "psychopath," and "antisocial personality disorder" (not "antisocial behavior") are used synonymously. This is unfortunate for the diagnostician, but for others . . . Historically, sociopaths and psychopaths have been characterized as exhibiting bad behavior, having deficits in the ability to empathize and inability to manage personal relationships. According to Hare, a foremost authority on psychopathy, a psychopath exhibits superficial charm, irresponsibility, insincerity, lack of remorse, impulsiveness, egocentricity, shallow emotions and failure to learn from experiences. But, "functional psychopaths"? That's something else.

Posted by: stan | Oct 8, 2005 7:50:17 AM

This makes sense, though why they are called "psychopaths" rather than "sociopaths" or just affectless people is not entirely clear to me. I wonder how rigorously those terms are defined, and how much agreement there is on the definition?

Posted by: judith | Sep 23, 2005 6:47:13 PM

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