Blood, Fingers, and Genes

Researchers are delving into the blood, fingers, and genes of financial traders. Here are some of the studies that may give us insights into the success or failure of the traders, and of the researchers who study the financiers’ digits and chemical composition. Here, too, are a few earlier studies that probe the mysteries of high and low finance. Coates and the Blood of Fabulous Financial Traders (2008) John M. Coates is a leader of the modern scientific attack force. “Endogenous Steroids and Financial Risk Taking on a London Trading Floor,” John M. Coates, Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, vol. 105, no. 16, April 22, 2008, pp. 6167–72 (
(Thanks to Catharine Dobbs for bringing this to our attention.) The author, at Cambridge University, reports:

Here, we report the findings of a study in which we sampled, under real working conditions, endogenous steroids from a group of male traders in the City of London. We found that a trader’s morning testosterone level predicts his day’s profitability. We also found that a trader’s cortisol rises with both the variance of his trading results and the volatility of the market. Our results suggest that higher testosterone may contribute to economic return, whereas cortisol is increased by risk

(That’s an excerpt from the article “Financial Meltdown,” Published in AIR 15:3.)