Cours de la bourse et de la testostérone : même combat?

Little is known about the role of the endocrine system in financial risk taking. 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. Our results point to a further possibility: testosterone and cortisol are known to have cognitive and behavioral effects, so if the acutely elevated steroids we observed were to persist or increase as volatility rises, they may shift risk preferences and even affect a trader’s ability to engage in rational choice. cortisol  testosterone  reward  uncertainty  neuroeconomics Testosterone, produced by the Leydig cells of the testes and in smaller amounts by the adrenal cortex, mediates sexual behavior and competitive encounters. It rises, for example, in athletes preparing for a competition and rises even further in the winning athlete, while falling in the losing one (1, 2). This androgenic priming of the winner can increase confidence and risk taking and improve chances of winning yet again, leading to a positive-feedback loop termed the ‘‘winner effect’’ (3, 4). Cortisol, produced by the adrenal cortex, plays a central role in the physiological and behavioral response to a physical challenge or psychological stressor. Cortisol is particularly sensitive to situations of uncontrollability, novelty, and uncertainty (5). Its wide-ranging effects include dampening the immune system; stimulating glucose metabolism; and altering mood, memory, and behavioral response to threatening circumstances (6–8). Because testosterone has been found to play a

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