3 Weird Sensory Hacks That Could Improve Your Trading
By CMM Team - 12-Dec-2023
An improved environment can affect a trader’s performance.
This doesn’t necessarily mean clicking buttons in a posh office or a single-bedroom apartment will change someone’s profitability. Instead, many traders underestimate the effects of what could be loosely categorized as forms of cozy maxxing on their ability to analyze and react to the market.
Adjusting certain sensory aspects of where and how a trader operates could boost their success. This article explores three specific areas – screen brightness, music, and temperature – with accompanying research to corroborate their effects on focus, recall, and decision making.
Music vs. Silence
Lots of crypto traders have aggrtrade sounds playing in the background. Some traders operate in silence. But what about listening to actual music?
One study on music therapy found that just 15 minutes of music can noticeably reduce stress. What genre the music is from did not seem to matter. What’s important is that the listener enjoyed the music. Emotional or stressed trading often leads to losing money, so jamming to some tunes from any genre could help avoid these problems.
Another study from the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital showed the significant affect that music has on moods by causing the brain to release dopamine. Moods – and music’s effect on them – have a very real impact on focus, work performance, attention, and more.
Trading with music instead of silence could be beneficial.
Curiously, aggregate “music sentiment” based on listening data from Spotify users also correlates with stock market behavior -- higher music sentiment was associated with higher returns and often lead to lower returns later. So, when people listen to happy songs, the market does better (at least for a while).
Dark Mode vs. Light Mode
Online debates over the merits of “light mode” and “dark mode” have raged on for over a decade. Positive polarity (light mode) is often criticized for being too harsh on a user’s eyes and brain. Negative polarity (dark mode) is usually praised as the better setting, especially on forums like Twitter and Reddit.
One study from 2019 analyzed the visual fatigue associated with the light mode and dark mode. In short, their findings showed that visual fatigue was significantly lower for the dark mode than the light mode, and study participants indicated a clear overall preference for the dark mode over the light mode. Dark mode also improved usability for these people, and they generally preferred dark mode mainly did in the low-light environments and less so in high-light environments.
So, traders in their parents’ basements spending 20-or-more hours in front of their monitors watching price charts may do well to prefer dark mode.
Turn up the heat!
Indoor temperature is not often discussed as an important facet of productive market analysis or successful trade execution. But maybe it should be.
One study by Cornell University linked room temperature to focus and productivity, and according to their findings, the optimum temperature is between 70-78 degrees. The study also explained why. When someone’s mind is focused on maintaining its body temperature in a room that’s too cold or too hot, this detracts from an operator’s concentration and performance.
In another study, a team of Iranian scientists reached similar conclusions. Excessively high or low air temperatures had a “profound effect” on the accuracy of brain executive functions and cognitive responses to stimuli.
Trading in a room that’s not too hot or too cold may be alpha.
None of the “hacks” in this article are guaranteed to instantaneously change a bad trader into a winner. But trading is all about marginal improvements, and each (or all) of these sensory aspects of trading could have a positive impact in any trader’s performance. Of course, none of these studies evaluated the effects of all three elements (dark mode, music, and temperature) in effect simultaneously. But at the very least, the ideas here are food for thought.
Try using dark mode.
Try listening to music.
Try adjusting the thermostat.
See what happens.