I think Asperger's is a potential plus for traders. It is hypothesized that Bill Gates and Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton may have or had high functioning Asperger's. To me, people with high functioning Asperger's (which is hypothesized to be more of a disorder of "mirror neurons" than the amgdala, read about it here). To me, people with high functioning Aspergers are "goal minded" to a fault. They can accomplish great things because of this singular patriot missile focus, but often have trouble with close motional relationships because of their difficulty empathizing with others. One of the frustrating things for them and the people who love them is that they do not intend to hurt, anger or frustrate others and are often at a loss for why others feel that way. A good book to address this is: Aspergers in Love by Maxine Aston.

Vincent Andres comments: 

About the biology of phobia and fear:

Read Snakes and Spiders Grab Our Attention and Grab It Even Faster If We're Phobic, A Sign That Perception Evolved To Help Us Spot Environmental Threats … Swedish Studies Show That We Can Spot Snakes In The Grass Faster Than Harmless Objects

Read Emotion Drives Attention: Detecting the Snake in the Grass by Arne Ohman, Anders Flykt, and Francisco Esteves

La biologie des phobies - Arne Ohman is a didactic nine page article in French with many clear sketches, and with biblio. and quantitative experiments about fear reaction delays. In short:

1. fear reactions are faster than others,

2. this is due to non-conscious short cuts

Nigel Davies adds:

I've seen an alternative hypothesis that mother nature is doing away with archaic social elements of the mind that were more useful for tribal groupings and shared panic in the face of sabre-tooth tiger attacks (or stock market falls). Asperger's seems to be on the increase worldwide, regardless of culture and with no two sufferers showing identical symptoms. These seem to be more characteristic of genetics and evolution rather than a 'disease.'

Might not the current research and attitudes be flawed through its view of 'normality' being assessed on the basis of what the majority is like? What if Asperger's represented the next step of human evolution, with the supposedly flawed neurology being perfect for the more specialist roles the world demands, and the diminishment of social instincts, thereby breaking down destructive national and ethnic barriers (not to mention the evening out of emotional swings in markets)?

Naturally those who are paid up members of the current status quo would not like the above argument. I suggest they would be likely to bend any evidence to show that they are in fact the perfect humanoids, incapable of improvement …





Speak your mind

7 Comments so far

  1. steve leslie on January 19, 2007 12:34 pm

    This is not meant to be a criticism of my friend Dr, Goulston as I have great respect for his writings and analysis. He is a profound thinker and writer and has great contributions in many fields.

    This is meant in a general context.

    I dislike those who hypothesize that so and so is a highly functioning ABC. For something as complex as Asperbergers syndrome I find it difficult accept that one can be placed in a certain category based solely on one or more typical characteristics.

    I personally hate those who try to classify people and things especially from a distance. When I was studying to be a teacher, we were always cautioned of placing students in a certain group. For example, minorities were 8 times as likely to be labeled retarded than white children of the same or similar IQ’s. Thus there was a stigma associated with this child for the rest of their life.

    My sister Sheryl was born with a congenital eye defect. She has no pupil therefore she is blind in one eye and has no depth perception. As a result, she is challenged to read and has to take time in many tasks. A guidance counselor told my mother in junior high school that Sheryl should learn a trade such as secretarial because she is not college material. My mother told the counselor very politely to go to h*** and emphatically declared that Sheryl would not only go to college but excel and continue her education as far as she chooses.

    Today, Sheryl is a special education teacher with a stellar resume and 34 years seniority. She is almost finished with her doctoral work in education and all because she chose not to listen to those nattering nabobs of negativism and rather chose her own destiny.

    I find in life that those who are the least qualified are the most willing to offer advice. We all should be very mindful of this.

    Bless all

    Steven Leslie

  2. Nemo on January 19, 2007 1:49 pm

    I read Mr. Goulston’s hypothesis that Asperger Syndrome might benefit a trader, and while the idea of having a highly focused mindset is certainly advantageous my personal experience with traders that have Asperger’s many times runs contrary this. As a salesperson handling many different types of clients I have come accross my fair share of Asperger’s (high functioning and not-so-high functioning) and only to see them “implode” because of their lack of sensitivity towards others (including their bosses). Some traders are simply brilliant mathematically and logically (world class) but lack certain sensibilities with respect to risk management (particularly getting along with a risk manager that is compensated for keeping a hedge fund, company, mutual fund, etc. out of the papers rather than enabling traders to stick with complex trades). A number of the leave or get fired for issues they describe as “completely crazy office politics” while they have posted impressive gains. Although my experience in this is limited to a small sampling; I will admit one of my friends from college (still a close friend)and former Navy fighter pilot has Asperger’s. Brilliant as he is (yes he went through Top Gun) he is a menace to himself in any setting where there has to be any sort of compromise. He would possibly a very good trader, …if he could last long enough not to get canned for interpersonal reasons.

  3. Spock on May 22, 2008 1:00 pm

    Asperger’s people are not sufferers! Sure - the interpersonal relationship business is a bit of a strain - but the benefits greatly outweigh the negatives. Would I be “cured” of my Apserger’s given the chance? Absolutely no way!

  4. Geoff on July 4, 2009 11:56 pm

    Quote: “One of the frustrating things for them and the people who love them is that they do not intend to hurt, anger or frustrate others and are often at a loss for why others feel that way.” I couldn’t agree more. Being married to a person with Aspergers I have lost count of the number of times my wife has said or done things that to her are just natural. She might just be pointing out the truth of a matter, when in fact it has served to cause emotional hurt to the person on the receiving end. She never intends it that way and cannot work out why new friends avoid her a short while after getting to know her.

  5. dg on October 29, 2009 10:34 pm

    What Mr. Davies suggests has long been a suspicion of my own. Well said.

  6. Peter on November 18, 2009 11:34 pm

    Spock, as a fellow Asperger’s ’suffer’ I would have to disagree. Although I am very skilled and focused in my now area of expertise, I have never had any social interaction or ‘friends’ and this bothers me.

  7. Martina S. on August 31, 2013 11:31 am

    I know is a bit off topic, but I have always thought that - amongst many others - even James Dean must have had Asperger´s. He is not bipolar to me, like other people suggest all the time. I think that his strange behavior was caused not by “rebellion” (unlike e.g. Marlon Brando). If you are really listening to what his friends say about him (in interviews), they are always describing him there as the shy, sensitive and peculiar guy with intense focus and special interests. I read his poems where he was complaining that he is unable of connecting with other people, and on the other hand, those who really KNEW him say that he was not capable of keeping a converstaing going. And he hated intense, unexpected sounds, and things like that. Those sound like classical signs of autism to me. Oh, and even the undefined sexuality is said to be a part of Asperger´s - it means that you “don´t really CARE”, if you know what I mean. So I don´t think he was gay, but he was definitely more inclining to the homosexual part of the Kinsey scale (I bet he was like no. 4, or something). Maybe some historian could do some research about Jim. He is a cultural icon and he was definitely interesting.


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