If you come to this website, it is obvious that you invest in cryptocurrencies. If you click on this article, chances are you’ll also find psychology interesting. The science-oriented editors of The Conversation also find both interesting. They investigated the correlation between ‘dark tetradpersonality traits’ and invest in cryptocurrencies. The conclusion is striking.
By ‘dark tetrad’ is meant a group of personality traits, more precisely Machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy. Sadism is also part of it, although it does not fit directly into the trio of traits. They are personality traits that generally have a negative effect on the environment.
Cryptocurrency investors are more likely to be psychopaths than other people, according to the authors. All four characteristics mentioned are bad qualities, because they have to do with extreme selfishness, a great lack of empathy, taking advantage of others and taking excessively large risks.
The average cryptocurrency buyer, according to the writers, is quicker (than necessary) to be positive, believes conspiracy theories quicker, and acts emotionally. The latter leads more quickly to FOMO (fear of missing out† Some shoppers have less faith in the government, which researchers believed was related to believing in conspiracy theories. It all adds up to a general stance towards cryptocurrencies.
This is how the researchers linked the four properties to cryptocurrency. Image courtesy of The Conversation.
It must be said that the study paints a very one-sided picture of the situation. There are quickly a number of caveats to make. For example, cryptocurrency investors are said to be “bad” faster, because cryptocurrencies are very risky. At the same time, we have inflation that is officially close to 10% and in reality is likely to be well above 10%. Also, of course, there is a difference between the “first class cryptocurrencies” that actually have use in the world and the first shitcoin.
Taking risks is very important. Taking no risk is often a greater danger than taking a risk. Risk management is important, so you shouldn’t take more risks than you can afford. We explain this in more detail in a deep dive on risk.
Also, it seems that the various character traits have been grouped together. This is called magnified positivism, but also believing in conspiracy theories. In general, those are two things that do not go well together. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad study, but it gives the impression.
Also, you can argue that 566 participants for a study of this caliber is a little small. Conclusions like these can have important consequences, so the authors should take a closer look at the context. Each investor has to deal with different circumstances, which can lead to taking more or less risk. Also, risk management and objectivity are important parts of investing, it is not clear whether these aspects have been evaluated or not.
There is something to be said for the research, most likely there is some correlation. But to label someone as a psychopath (or sociopath, narcissist or sadist) you need more information. Especially context.
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