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Invest Like a Psychopath for Success

Some crazy ideas turn out to be the truth --

Investing Like a Psychopath: " . . . In 2005, a team of researchers from Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and the University of Iowa gave a group of participants $20 each. They were then made an offer: You can flip a coin up to 20 times. If you lose the coin toss, you owe $1. If you win, you get $2.50. Everyone in this situation should make as many tosses as possible, since there's a 50/50 chance of accurately guessing a coin toss, and the reward for winning is far larger than the penalty of losing. But the researchers found only one group of participants willing to make large numbers of tosses: Those with a lesion in the area of their brains that controls emotion. Participants with normal brains threw in the towel after flipping a few losses in a row. People don't like losing money, and even if you know the odds are in your favor, a couple losses will turn you off. But those whose brains suppressed emotions kept on betting, regardless of past losses. Not surprising, given the odds and payoffs of the coin-toss game, they ended up with more money. One of the co-authors of the study called these coin-flippers "functional psychopaths," since their damaged brains prevented them from being affected by emotions. The non-psychopaths with normal brains remembered how losing felt and became twice bitten, once shy. Their memories blocked rational behavior. . . . "

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