Sunday, February 28, 2010

Depression and attention

In today’s New York Times magazine section there is a lengthy article entitled "Depression's Upside." Not surprisingly, it heads the most e-mailed list.

Whatever the ultimate scientific merit of the hypothesis, the article points to experiments demonstrating that "negative moods lead to better decisions in complex situations." An experimenter found, for instance, that shoppers could remember more trinkets (in fact, nearly four times as many) that had been placed near the checkout counter on gray, rainy days when Verdi's "Requiem" was playing in the background than they could on sunny days when Gilbert and Sullivan was playing. Lower moods were also associated with higher scores on the IQ test.

Do these findings have any ramifications for traders? Perhaps. Although we can't control the weather, we can control what we listen to during the day. Maybe all that upbeat music is precisely the wrong medicine for success.


  1. Brenda,

    This is what I listen to before the market open:

    I like your "hiatus" ;)

    Best trading (& stay warm),


  2. Ignorance really is bliss...

    This reminds me of a study I read years ago that claimed depressed people had a more realistic idea of what people thought of them than happy people. Something along the lines of distinguishing plastic smiles from real ones better than average, as one example.