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Fear and Greed in Financial Markets: A Clinical Study of Day-Traders

  • Andrew W. Lo
  • Dmitry V. Repin
  • Brett N. Steenbarger

We investigate several possible links between psychological factors and trading performance in a sample of 80 anonymous day-traders. Using daily emotional-state surveys over a five-week period as well as personality inventory surveys, we construct measures of personality traits and emotional states for each subject and correlate these measures with daily normalized profits-and-losses records. We find that subjects whose emotional reaction to monetary gains and losses was more intense on both the positive and negative side exhibited significantly worse trading performance. Psychological traits derived from a standardized personality inventory survey do not reveal any specific "trader personality profile", raising the possibility that trading skills may not necessarily be innate, and that different personality types may be able to perform trading functions equally well after proper instruction and practice.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11243.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11243.

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Date of creation: Apr 2005
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Publication status: published as Lo, Andrew W., Dimitry V. Repin and Brett N. Steenbarger. "Fear And Greed In Financial Markets: A Clinical Study Of Day-Traders," American Economic Review, 2005, v95(2,May), 352-359.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11243
Note: AP
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  5. Andrew W. Lo & Dmitry V. Repin & Brett N. Steenbarger, 2005. "Fear and Greed in Financial Markets: A Clinical Study of Day-Traders," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 352-359, May.
  6. Anna Krivelyova & Cesare Robotti, 2003. "Playing the field: Geomagnetic storms and international stock markets," Working Paper 2003-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
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  8. Mittal, Vikas & Ross, William T., 1998. "The Impact of Positive and Negative Affect and Issue Framing on Issue Interpretation and Risk Taking," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 298-324, December.
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