Is One Out Of Ten Wall Street Workers A Psychopath?

MCDAMPS EC020With clinical psychopaths dramatically overrepresented in finance, one can only assume that mentally healthy workers must learn to imitate psychopathic behavior to remain employed. Via the Huffington Post:

One out of every 10 Wall Street employees is likely a clinical psychopath, writes the trade publication CFA Magazine. In the general population the rate is closer to one out of every 100.

Journalist Sherree DeCovny pulls together research from several psychologists for her story, which helpfully suggests that financial firms carefully screen out extreme psychopaths in hiring.

A clinical psychopath is bright and charming, writes DeCovny. He lies easily, and may have trouble feeling empathy for other people. He’s more willing to take dangerous risks…the outcomes matter less than the gambles themselves — and the chemical rush of serotonin and endorphins that accompanies them.

This is hardly the first time that mental illness has been equated with a certain capacity for professional success — especially in the financial sector, where some stock traders have actually scored higher than diagnosed psychopaths on tests that measure competitiveness and attraction to risk. Other researchers generalize it to bosses as a species, saying that about 4 percent of all executives are psychopaths — and that their relative lack of scruples is what helps them excel in business.

30 Comments on "Is One Out Of Ten Wall Street Workers A Psychopath?"

  1. razzlebathbone | Mar 2, 2012 at 3:26 pm |

    Only ten percent?

  2. Slipperytip | Mar 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm |

    Is there a grad school for this, and can I pay extra?  I hear not giving a f*ck increases quality of life dramatically! 

  3. When the world is as crazy as this, maybe psychopathy is the only way to keep “sane”. Wait…

  4. DeepCough | Mar 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm |

    I’ll believe this study when there’s an epidemic of murders over reservations at Dorcia’s.

    • gwen jackson | Mar 3, 2012 at 12:48 am |

       um, maybe you haven’t noticed how Wall Street practices result in indirect murders every day. The corporate profiteering of every industry including healthcare, prisons, and military contractors for starters…. but you know what? it’s more fun watching people display their shortsightedness than to try to explain anything to them, so never mind.

      • DeepCough | Mar 3, 2012 at 10:40 pm |

        Hey, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good,” and that’s an infinitely better explanation for the shenanigans on Wall Street than an off-hand observation of quasi-possible diagnosis of Psychopathy.

        • gwen jackson | Mar 11, 2012 at 12:48 am |

          it’s offhand, but the primary characteristic of psychopathy is lack of conscience…if it walks like a duck…

  5. Don’t forget it is ‘Wall Street workers”, so not all people working on Wall Street are psychopathic corporate executives. You have secretaries, IT people, clerks, customer relations, accountants, human resources etc. Now if it had just been, executives and boardmembers, the expected 100% would have turned up.
    Wall street might be really evil but it still is not the military industrial complex, Wall street kills by indifference, the military industrial complex does it on purpose.

    • Anarchy Pony | Mar 2, 2012 at 5:40 pm |

      Don’t forget that they collude with each other.

    • Monkey See Monkey Do | Mar 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm |

      indifference, ignorance, stupidity and apathy. I have little sympathy for apathy.

      • gwen jackson | Mar 3, 2012 at 12:43 am |

        Really? I used to feel that way, but now I see that apathy is inevitable once you accept how stupid people really are. It’s the stupidity I have no sympathy for. 

    • Mr Willow | Mar 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm |

      Of course, if the military’s many private contractors’ stock prices increase every time we instigate a war—as did Halliburton’s during the Iraq invasion/occupation ( ) ( )—then it would stand to reason Wall Street would gain an awful lot by influencing military action, no longer making them indifferent, but purposeful, active participators. 

    • gwen jackson | Mar 3, 2012 at 12:40 am |

      If you haven’t figured out yet that Wall Street and the military industrial complex are so intertwined as to be the same entity, just give up, you’re way behind.

  6. rus Archer | Mar 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

    funny that we get all these posts re: psychopathy

    right next to all the stuff pimping crowley

    uh? disconnect?

    survival of the survivest

    the grill for the cattle

  7. Nunzio X | Mar 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm |

    Ten out of ten.


  8. Ronniedobbs | Mar 2, 2012 at 9:15 pm |

    maybe one out of 10 is a psychopath but they are all a**holes

  9. gwen jackson | Mar 3, 2012 at 12:37 am |

    When are people going to wake up and admit that psychopathy is not a disorder at all, but the natural result of eons of evolution?
    HELL YEAH Wall Street and Congress and the top echelons of corporate society are infested with way more than 10% psychopaths, because the natural path of a superior being is success. There’s a reason why the whims of these psychopaths control every aspect of your life, your world, and everything in it, quit being suckers and wake the fuck up already; they are wolves, you are livestock.
    EAT or BE EATEN.

    •  Right, because empathy is a weakness. You are astoundingly stupid. Humanity would (even more than it already does) cease to live in any remotely functional capacity without a sense of empathy. Psychopathy may benefit the individual in the short term, but it absolutely would not benefit the whole for any length of time.

      • gwen jackson | Mar 11, 2012 at 12:42 am |

        i bet that’s what cattle tell themselves as they’re being led to the chute. “i’m going to cooperate because i am an enlightened individual and while refusing to cooperate might benefit me in the short term, it would be bad for society as a whole.”

        and your reliance on personal insults would really undermine the validity or your argument, if it were valid to begin with.


    • Empathy begets altruism. Altruism begets a society in which highly
      specialized roles can develop due to every individual not having to
      create their necessities to survive, giving them time to devote to a
      single trade. All of that begets the very environment in which these
      psychopaths are thriving. Take away the empathy, and you take away
      everything else. It may be slightly more difficult to become successful
      for the empathetic, but we are required for our society to run.

      You’ve been watching American Psycho too much.

      • gwen jackson | Mar 11, 2012 at 12:45 am |

         the media portrayal of psychopaths as murderers has really been detrimental to your perception of danger. psychopaths are much smarter than the rest of you; they rarely kill because they know you’re more valuable as an easily manipulated consumer-unit. if i kill a sheep, i can eat it today, but if i let it live, i can fleece it for years and years.

  10. hoodlum11 | Mar 3, 2012 at 10:13 am |

    I would suggest the degree of psychopathology is much higher than 1% or 10%.   In this realm, this group of people compose the 99%, but i wouldn’t leave it at just wall street.  I feel the pathology extends to our political leadership at all levels of state and federal government and big business.  Some call it competition, the more correct term is psychopathology because they do lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, don’t care who they hurt, just like their boss.  It’s called corporate incest, those at the top tend to hire people like themselves.  This country is in a mess because of these sick people.  Unfortunately, this society doesn’t respect people who are genuine, kind, honest, open, those who try to help their fellow man, they are considered weak.  Besides, if they do raise to the top, we tend to kill them.

  11. this is message brought to you by the 99%

  12. Killingjoke36 | Mar 4, 2012 at 4:37 am |

    I think it’s more like 1 in 10 of wall streeters is NOT a psychopath!

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