A new study from Vanderbilt University shows that people with psychopathic tendencies (like aggression, lack of empathy, lack of fear) are more prone to take excessive risk without considering the consequences.During the study, researchers tested people with psychopathic qualities to see how they react to reward.
Very well, it turns out.
Both people with psychopathic qualities and normal people were told they would receive a cash reward for a simple task. Those brains with psychopathic tendencies showed heightened levels of activity in the dopamine reward area of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, as they anticipated receiving the award.
The nucleus accumbens is the part of the brain that is always referred to as the part that blinds traders to excessive risk-taking. Here’s why:
A researcher says, “It’s not just that they don’t appreciate the potential threat, but that the anticipation or motivation for reward overwhelms those concerns.”
So if a trader is taking a lot of risk, it’s probably because they are so hopped up on dopamine they can’t see any negative consequences. Oh, and they’re kind of a psychopath.