From molecule to market

Coates, John, Gurnell, Mark, and Sarnyai, Zoltan (2018) From molecule to market. In: Garrard, Peter, (ed.) The Leadership Hubris Epidemic: biological roots and strategies for prevention. Palgrave, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 25-56.

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Emotions are commonly viewed as subcortical eruptions impairing the rational guidance of behaviour. However, certain authors (e.g. Damasio 1994; LeDoux 1996; Loewenstein et al. 2001) have disputed this contrast, suggesting that rationality by itself would be overwhelmed and directionless were information not emotionally tagged for significance. Nonetheless, lapses of rationality continue to be blamed on emotional interference. This is especially true of irrational risk-reward choices made during financial market bubbles and crashes, choices considered by many as instances of irrational exuberance and pessimism overwhelming rational economic agency (Shiller 2005). However, there are 26 J. Coates et al. grounds for believing that the emotions of euphoria and fear displayed in markets may be more accurarely described as shifts in confidence and risk preferences, caused by elevated levels of steroid hormones.

Steroids are a class of hormone, hormones being chemical messengers sent from one part of the body or brain to another, bringing about a change in the target tissue. The major classes of hormones include amines (such as adrenaline and noradrenaline), peptides and proteins (such as oxytoxic and leptin) and steroids (such as testosterone, oestradiol and cortisol). Steroids are lipids cleaved from cholesterol by a series of enzymatic modifications, with the major sires of bio-synthesis being the gonads and the adrenal cortex, although some neurosteroids, such as pregnenolone, can be synthesized directly by neurons and glial cells in the brain (Baulieu 1997).

Steroids constitute a particularly influential class of hormones because of their range of action. With receptors in almost every nucleated cell in the body, they affect growth, metabolism, immune function, mood, memory, cognition and behaviour. Steroids are of special interest for the study of emotions and economic behaviour because they help coordinate body and brain in archetypical situations, such as fight, flight, mating, feeding, search and struggle for status. Because they are known to respond powerfully to such social situations, steroid hormones may provide an important missing link in the emerging field of neuroeconomics between economic events and brain processes. Here, we review the relevant literature on two steroids that may help provide this link-testosterone and cortisol.

Item ID: 57133
Item Type: Book Chapter (Scholarly Work)
ISBN: 978-3-319-57254-3
Date Deposited: 09 May 2019 02:28
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1109 Neurosciences > 110903 Central Nervous System @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1103 Clinical Sciences > 110306 Endocrinology @ 30%
17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170101 Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology) @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920111 Nervous System and Disorders @ 100%
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