According to a new study at the University of St. Gallen seen by SPIEGEL, . . . stockbrokers' behavior is more reckless and manipulative than that of psychopaths. Researchers at the Swiss research university measured the readiness to cooperate and the egotism of 28 professional traders who took part in computer simulations and intelligence tests. The results, compared with the behavior of psychopaths, exceeded the expectations of the study's co-authors, forensic expert Pascal Scherrer, and Thomas Noll, a lead administrator at the Pöschwies prison north of Zürich.As continued here:
Appetite for Destruction
"Naturally one can't characterize the traders as deranged," Noll told SPIEGEL. "But for example, they behaved more egotistically and were more willing to take risks than a group of psychopaths who took the same test."
Particularly shocking for Noll was the fact that the bankers weren't aiming for higher winnings than their comparison group. Instead they were more interested in achieving a competitive advantage. Instead of taking a sober and businesslike approach to reaching the highest profit, "it was most important to the traders to get more than their opponents," Noll explained. "And they spent a lot of energy trying to damage their opponents."
Using a metaphor to describe the behavior, Noll said the stockbrokers behaved as though their neighbor had the same car, "and they took after it with a baseball bat so they could look better themselves."
The researchers were unable to explain this penchant for destruction, they said.
Faced with a hypothetical choice between co-operating for everyone’s benefit and getting a predictable reward or cheating and possibly getting more for themselves, traders were more likely than psychopaths to cheat, said Noll.Sounds like a violation of the Diamond Rule to me.
As a result, psychopaths, who broke the rules occasionally, won the most, ordinary people, who almost always played by the rules and who co-operated, came in second, while traders, who didn’t care how their actions affected anyone else, cheated the most and won the least.