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Testosterone and Stock Market Trading

Stock market trading is a man`s world and the male hormone testosterone may be driving the stock prices. Or is it? This wasn`t meant to be a sexist statement, mind you, but the big majority of stock traders are definitely male. I`m sure many of us have husbands, fathers, or brothers who are stock traders.

Researchers at Cambridge University found a possible link between testosterone levels of stock traders and their performance. The researchers studied 17 London stock traders and followed their performance and testosterone levels. The traders tested tended to earn money on those days when they had elevated morning levels of the hormone.

Previous studies have shown a link between testosterone and risk taking among adolescents but this is probably the first study to evaluate the link between testosterone and job performance. Would testosterone tests soon be part of screening job applicants in the financial sector? I don`t think so.
Experts are cautious about the interpretation of the results and rightly so, with the current problems in banking and financial market.

Besides, study sample size is simply too small ? 17 people cannot be representative of (tens of?) thousands of stock traders worldwide. More studies are needed before Human Resources can start revising their hiring policies.

Interestingly enough, one of the researchers is an ex-trader turned neuroscientist – and male.


The testosterone of trading, Nature News 14 April 2008

Coates & Herbert. Endogenous steroids and financial risk taking on a London trading floor. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 14 April 2008.

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