Lesson 4: Crowd Psychology: Following the Sheep to Slaughter
Lesson 4: Crowd Psychology: Following the Sheep to Slaughter
In our last lesson we looked at two of the most common mistakes that traders make when entering the market, sticking with a trade where the market moves against the trader but he knows he is right, and altering a trading plan on the fly as a result of missed opportunities. In today’s lesson we are going to look at another aspect of trading psychology that causes many traders to fail which is known as crowd psychology.
The best summary that I have seen on this subject, as well as a great book on trading in general is Dr. Alexander Elder’s book Trading for a living. As the Trader and Psychologist points out in his book, people think differently when acting as part of a crowd than they do when acting alone. Dr Elder points out that
“People change when they join crowds. They become more credulous, impulsive, anxiously search for a leader, and react to emotions instead of using their intellect.”
In his book Dr. Elder gives several examples of academic studies which have been done which show that people have trouble doing simple tasks such as choosing which line is longer than the other when put in a situation with other people who were instructed to give the wrong answer.
Perhaps no where is the strange effect is the psychology of crowds seen than in the financial markets. One of the more recent examples as I have spoken about in my other lessons of the effect that the psychology of crowds can have on the markets is the run-up of the NASDAQ into 2000. As you will find by pulling out the history books however, this is not an isolated incident as financial history is littered with similar price bubbles created and then destroyed in the same way as the NASDAQ bubble was.
So why does history continue to repeat itself? As Dr. Elder points out in his book, from a primitive standpoint chances of survival are often much higher as part of a group than they are alone. Similarly war’s are often one by militaries with the strongest leaders. It is thus only natural to think that humans desire to survive would breed a desire to be part of a group with a strong leader into the human psyche.
So how does this relate to trading? Well as we learned in our lessons on Dow Theory, the price is representative of the crowd and the trend is representative of the leader of that crowd. With this in mind think about how difficult it would have been to short the NASDAQ at the high’s in 2000, just at the height of the frenzy when everyone else was buying. In hindsight you would have ended up with a very profitable trade but, had the trade not worked out, people would have asked how could you have been so dumb to sell when everyone else knew the market was going up?
Now think about all the people who held on to their positions and lost tons of money after the bubble burst in 2000. As they had lots of company there were probably not a whole lot of people who were laughing at them. Yes they were wrong but how could they have known when so many others were wrong too?
By looking at this same example, you can also see how panic selling often ensues after sharp trends in the market as this is representative to a crowd whose leader has abandoned them.
In order to trade successfully people need a trading plan which is designed before entering a trade and becoming part of the crowd so they can fall back on their plan when the emotions which are associated with being part of a crowd inevitably arise. Successful traders must also realize that there is a time to run with the crowd and a time to leave the crowd, a decision which must be made by a well thought out trading plan designed before entering a trade.
That completes our lesson for today and our lessons on the trading psychology of money management. In tomorrow’s lesson we are going to begin looking at different trading strategies which can be used to manage a trade once you have entered, which many traders also use to help remove some of the negative emotional effects of trading as part of a crowd.
The Global-View Forex Forum is the hub for currency trading on the web. Founded in 1996, it was the original forex forum and is still the place where forex traders around the globe come 24/7 looking for currency trading ideas, breaking forex news, fx trading rumors, fx flows and more. This is where you can find a full suite of forex trading tools, including a complete fx database, forex chart points, live currency rates, and live fx charts. In addition, there is a forex brokers directory where you can compare forex brokers. There is also a forex brokers hotline where you can ask for help choosing a forex broker that meets your individual fx trading needs.
The forex forum is where traders come to discuss the forex market. It is one of the few places where forex traders of all levels of experience, from novice to professionals, interact on the same venue to discuss forex trading. There is also the GVI Forex, which is a private subscription service where professional and experienced currency traders meet in a private forex forum. it is like a virtual forex trading room. This is open to forex traders of all levels of experience to view but only experienced currency tradingprofessionals can post.
Currency trading charts are updated daily using the forex trading ranges posted in the Global-View forex database. You will also find technical indicators on the fx trading charts, e.g. moving averages for currencies such as the EURUSD. This is another forex trading tool provided by Global-View.com.
The forex database can be used to access high, low, close daily forex ranges for key currency pairs, such as the EURUSD, USDJPY, USDCHF, GBPUSD, USDCAD, AUD, NZD and major crosses, including EURJPY, EURGBP, EURCHF, GBPJPY, GBPCHF and CHFJPY. Data for these currency trading pairs dating back to January 1, 1999 can be downloaded to an Excel spreadsheet.
Forex chart points are in a currency trading table that includes; latest fx tradinghigh-low-close range, Bollinger Bands, Fibonacci retracement levels, daily forex pivot points support and resistance levels, average daily forex range, MACD for the different currency trading pairs. You can look on the forex forum for updates when one of the fx trading tools is updated.
Global-View also offers a full fx trading chart gallery that includes fx pairs, such as the EURUSD, commodities, stocks and bonds. In a fx trading world where markets are integrated, the chart gallery is a valuable trading tool. Look for updates on the Forex Forum when the chart gallery is updated.
Global-View.com also offers a forex blog, where articles of interest for currency trading are posted throughout the day. The forex blog articles come from outside sources, including forex brokers research as well as from the professionals at Global-View.com. This forex blog includes the Daily Forex View, Market Chatter and technical forex blog updates. In additional to its real time forex forum, there are also Member Forums available for more in depth forex trading discussions.
WARNING: FOREIGN EXCHANGE TRADING AND INVESTMENT IN DERIVATIVES
CAN BE VERY SPECULATIVE AND MAY RESULT IN LOSSES AS WELL AS PROFITS. FOREIGN
EXCHANGE AND DERIVATIVES TRADING IS NOT SUITABLE FOR MANY MEMBERS OF THE
PUBLIC AND ONLY RISK CAPITAL SHOULD BE APPLIED. THE WEBSITE DOES NOT TAKE
INTO ACCOUNT SPECIAL INVESTMENT GOALS, THE FINANCIAL SITUATION OR SPECIFIC
REQUIREMENTS OF INDIVIDUAL USERS. YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY CONSIDER YOUR FINANCIAL
SITUATION AND CONSULT YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISORS AS TO THE SUITABILITY TO YOUR
SITUATION PRIOR TO MAKING ANY INVESTMENT OR ENTERING INTO ANY TRANSACTIONS.