An Objective and Analytic Approach

Discussion in 'Psychology' started by Brandonf, May 18, 2004.

  1. Brandonf

    Brandonf ET Sponsor

    Trading the markets takes a lot of nerve. Decisions often need to be made quickly, and if one flinches, one may miss a significant price move, and divert a sound trading plan. Fear and anxiety often are at the root of hesitation. One may fear a loss, fear being wrong, or fear not having an opportunity to exit. The more a trader can control fear and anxiety, the more he or she can avoid the tendency to hesitate. A classic experiment on the study of emotion control provides a solution. One of the best ways to control fear and anxiety is to take an objective and analytic approach to interpreting events.

    In the 1960s, Professor Richard Lazarus and colleagues elicited fear in a laboratory setting by showing participants films portraying various stressful situations. They called one of these films the "sub-incision film." In this film, an Australian Stone Age tribe demonstrated a primitive ritual in which crude surgical operations were performed on young men as a rite of passage. Participants watching the film knew these crude incisions were going to be made, but they didn't know exactly when. Physiological measures of fear, such as skin conductance, respiratory functions, and heart rate, were monitored as participants watched the film. As might be expected, levels of fear were highest at the point the incision was made. But fear was also very high while anticipating the fearful event. Anticipation of a stressful event is often associated with fear and anxiety. After the incision, fear immediately decreased. The vantage point that participants used to view the film exerted a powerful influence on emotional experience. By manipulating the soundtrack of the film, and coaching participants on how to cope with watching the incisions, researchers were able to help people manage their emotional reactions. One approach was to "intellectualize" the film. Participants tried to view the film as a scientific documentary in which one removes oneself from the ongoing process and tries to look at the events from a rational and impersonal perspective. A second approach was to try to "think positively." Subjects were told to focus on the positive aspects of the film. For example, the young men in the ritual looked forward to it, and were viewed as having a higher status in the tribe once the ritual was completed. Results showed that taking an objective and intellectual approach was much more effective at controlling emotions than trying to think positively and trying to ignore the negative aspects of the film.

    This research study shows how taking an objective approach to trading can reduce fear, and in turn, reduce hesitation. Any way that you can objectify or intellectualize trades will improve your ability to control fear. For example, looking at trades as a percentage of increase or decrease in capital rather than dollar amounts can help greatly. Don't think of the value of the money, and what it can purchase. Look at it as merely objective percentage points of loss or gain. This will help you remain rational and calm. It will help you control your fear, and reduce your tendency to hesitate.
  2. There certainly is a spectrum of possibilities to consider vis a vis what you posted.

    The efforts you describe and the conclusions and recommended practices that have resulted are in a place in the spectrum of possibilities that I believe do not bear fruit.

    I am not interested in articulating why, etc. But I have given a lot of consideration to why I conclude what I do.

    The more fruitful path, I believe, is to operate in a different arena. I suggest this strongly because of where emotions come from and what they are actually associated with.

    The what and where are illustrated by the "stories" in you post, fortunately. But these two considerations are left by the wayside in the work done by the participants.

    A cardinal consideration for dealing with emotions, especially undesirable emotions, is knowing where emotions come from.

    The next consideration is why. Knowing why lets you find out what they are associated with.

    How does something you do not want to contend with arrive on your doorstep?

    It is not necessary to have it there, that is for sure. In fact, the best condition would be to have something terrifically helpful and never even run the chance that what you don't want will make an appearance.

    My supposition is that there are many alternative places to operate at various points along the spectrum than the one you present.

    I hope others continue with what you have started; what I raise is definitely OT and not something to be continued here as a distraction to your points.
  3. NLP those alternative perspectives are called reframings. Another potential reframe for the film, equally adaptable to the markets, would be to revel in the anticipation of the sadistic pleasure which you would derive from the effects of your actions on the participants. This merges into another NLP dictum, "What can you do with a problem like that?". Best regards.