Sunday, December 13, 2009

The psychophysiology of trading

The paper is old (2002) but still interesting. Andrew W. Lo and Dmitry V. Repin in “The Psychophysiology of Real-Time Financial Risk Processing” report the results of their experiment to measure the emotional responses of ten traders—five highly experienced and five with low to moderate experience. They wired up these traders to plot real-time changes in their skin conductance, blood volume pulse, heart rate, electromyographical signals, respiration, and body temperature.

Although the sample is very small and hence just a first stab, the authors noted some significant differences between the two types of traders. The less experienced traders, for instance, seem to be more sensitive to short-term changes in such market variables as deviations and trend reversals. Both sets of traders, however, saw spikes in their blood volume pulse in the face of volatility events.

Lo and Repin conclude that “emotion is a significant determinant of the evolutionary fitness of financial traders.”

If you want a more complete synopsis of the Lo and Repin paper, there’s a digest entitled “Measuring the Stress of Financial Traders" on the NBER site. The only problem is that the site seems to be down right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment