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Testosterone Levels Among Financial Traders Affect Performance
Date:4/14/2008

British study found those with more of the male hormone in the morning made more money

MONDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- New research out of Britain finds that financial traders who wake up with high levels of the male hormone testosterone tend to make more money that day, probably because they feel more daring.

On the flip side, traders with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol tend to be more cautious.

"We think that, during bubbles, traders are experiencing extremely high levels of testosterone, and this is affecting not only their judgment, but the ability of monetary policy to control bubbles," said study author John Coates, a research fellow at Judge Business School and the department of physiology development in neuroscience at the University of Cambridge in Britain. "Alan Greenspan spent most of his career trying to stop a bubble and never succeeded. Why are these things so hard to stop?"

The findings are consistent with previous research, said Dr. Julio Licinio, chairman of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. ""If testosterone is higher, you push yourself more," he said.

In fact, testosterone is linked with sexual and competitive behavior. It rises in athletes before competition, and even more if they win, while falling in those who lose.

Cortisol, on the other hand, responds to stress and to uncertain situations.

But how do these hormones respond to financial risk-taking?

To find out, Coates, who once ran a derivatives desk at Deutsch Bank on Wall Street, recruited 17 London financial traders to participate in the study. The findings were published in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Thirteen traded mainly European fixed income futures while, for the remaining four, the main asset traded was the Dax (German stock index futur
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