Survival on a London Trading Floor

Kandasamy et al. (2016) found in their recent research that financial traders interoceptive ability (gut feelings) predicts their profitability and how long they survived in the financial markets.

Specifically, they said:

“Traders in the financial world often speak of the importance of gut feelings for choosing profitable trades. By this they mean that subtle physiological changes in their bodies provide cues helping them rapidly select from a range of possible trades the one that just ‘feels right’. Our findings suggest that the gut feelings informing this decision are more than the mythical entities of financial lore – they are real physiological signals, valuable ones at that.”

One of the key determinants of this success was the traders’ ability to detect their heartbeat. An accurate detection score predicted their profitability. The question then arose as to what predicts heartbeat detection itself? They looked at BMI, heart rate and heart rate variability. Heart rate variability proved more indicative than the other two.

From our point of view, this is further evidence that attending to our physiological as well as our psychological needs is vital in reaching peak performance.

Kandasamy, N., Garfinkel, S. N., Page, L., Hardy, B., Critchley, H. D., Gurnell, M., & Coates, J. M. (2016). Interoceptive Ability Predicts Survival on a London Trading Floor. Scientific reports, 6, 32986. doi:10.1038/srep32986 <;

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