Where the interests of signaler and signal receiver diverge, there exist both incentives and opportunity for manipulation by sending misleading information. Deception is the major obstacle to information sharing. And the living world is rife with deception. From the lure that an anglerfish uses to attract prey, to the false alarm that a flycatcher raises to dissuade competitors, from bluegill sunfish males that sneak matings by masquerading as females, to the mimic octopus that can imitate a wide range of poisonous creatures and other underwater objects, from the false mating signals of carnivorous fireflies, to the shame regenerated claw of a fiddler crab, from the chemical mimicry that caterpillars use to invade the nest chamber of ants, to the bluffing threats of a molting stomatopod, organisms deceive one another in every imaginable way in order to attain every conceivable advantage ".

From Carl Bergstrom's Dealing with Deception in Biology

What is needed is a model and practical means for dealing with deception in markets.

Gary Rogan writes: 

Perhaps whats needed first is classifying the different classes of market deception. At the very least there are two very distinct classes: deliberate and evolved. "Deliberate" comes in many flavors, like "flexionic"/insider where some privileged few act on advance information as in the recent "fiscal cliff" related flash crash or "accounting fraud" when a company (or a government agency) puts out deliberately distorted information. It seems like various market patterns that evolve/appear for some internal and often not clearly understood reasons are often not related or only peripherally related to the deliberate types, but still act to draw in the unsuspecting/unduly exposed and provide an energy source to the markets as opposed to benefiting some specific perpetrators.

a commenter writes: 

Good idea, Mr. Rogan. Other categories might be subdivided:

1) company specific deception which affects only a company stock price (HLF)

2) macro-economic deception which affects entire indices (fiscal cliff).

So, in order to beat deception, it is critical for one to fully understand the mentality of the targets (oneself at times when one is the primary target) as well as that of the deceiver.

When we come to model deceptions in markets, modeling the mentality of the crowds is perhaps much less of a challenge than objectively modeling the subjective nature of one's own mentality.

Alston Mabry writes: 

The biggest deception is self-deception: We are much more likely to believe a lie that we *want* to be true. Make a promise, charge a fee. The bigger the promise, the bigger the fee.

Self-deception can apply powerfully to things like chart patterns, or tempting but shadowy cause-and-effect relationships that you can almost tease out of the data. The market displays a pattern. Then displays it a second time. The third time you put a little money on it and score. So the fourth time you go in large, but unfortunately….


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