With "rogue traders" all the rage, a Swiss university study found that brokers "behaved more egotistically and were more willing to take risks than a group of psychopaths who took the same test." The study's co-author Thomas Noll said, "Naturally one can't characterize the traders as deranged," but then went on to describe behavior we'd be comfortable characterizing exactly as such:
Particularly shocking for Noll was the fact that the bankers weren't aiming for higher winnings than their comparison group. Instead they were more interested in achieving a competitive advantage. Instead of taking a sober and businesslike approach to reaching the highest profit, "it was most important to the traders to get more than their opponents," Noll explained. "And they spent a lot of energy trying to damage their opponents."
Noll said it was as if the stockbrokers realized they had the same car as their neighbor, and naturally "they took after it with a baseball bat so they could look better themselves." Metaphorically!
Share Traders More Reckless Than Psychopaths, Study Shows [Spiegel via Awl]