Monday, 12 May 2008

Beware of Financial Advisers offering Nasal Spray

Came across an amusing tidbit in GlobeInvestor magazine enticingly titled The link between your love life and your investments. It was based on a serious research study called Oxytocin Increases Trust in Humans (do a Google search and see how often the article shows up).

The researchers found that men would become more socially trusting and readier to take risks when the "love chemical" oxytocin was squirted up their nose. The experiment is described this way by GlobeInvestor:
"An investor could choose to give any amount of money to a “trustee.” Once invested, that sum would be tripled, but the investor couldn’t control how the trustee used the funds. Enriched by this windfall, the trustee could opt to share the proceeds with the investor, and both players would then get a nice payoff. Or, the trustee could be selfish and hoard the profits."

Nice way to describe how investing works, huh? The adviser triples your money without queston, the only doubt being whether he/she will steal it.

Now I know to refuse all nasal spray when meeting with financial advisers or brokers no matter how bad a cold I have! (Can it be laced in coffee at investment seminars!? Will anti-oxidants counter the effects?) We'll also have to monitor the progress of efforts to transmit smell through the Internet. Imagine receiving a spam investment solicitation email laced with oxytocin.

Or, maybe the technique could be reversed to develop a risk aversion blow test, sort of a risk breathalyzer. It could be descriptive - "you have a very low risk tolerance, sir" - or prescriptive - "your oxytocin level is wayyyy too high, no investing for you for a month."

Have a good day. ;-)

1 comment:

piazzi said...

all this good if you assume government reporting of inflation is true and honest, that is a big assumption to make

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