Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Questionnaire to Assess Moods During Trading

My recent article examined mood, its psychological function, and its significance for trading. For traders interested in assessing their shifts in mood over time, there's a worthy questionnaire in the public domain: PANAS (Positive and Negative Affect Schedule) developed by Watson and Tellegen. Here's a manual for the long version of PANAS; here's an article describing the short form of the questionnaire and its validation.

Below is an adaptation of PANAS that traders can use:

Please rate your current mood on a 1-5 scale by indicating the strength of each of the feelings listed below, where 1 = feeling it very slightly or not at all; 3 = feeling it somewhat; and 5 = feeling it extremely.

1. Interested _____
2. Distressed _____
3. Excited _____
4. Upset _____
5. Strong _____
6. Guilty _____
7. Enthusiastic _____
8. Scared _____
9. Proud _____
10. Hostile _____
11. Alert _____
12. Irritable _____
13. Inspired _____
14. Ashamed _____
15. Determined _____
16. Nervous _____
17. Attentive _____
18. Jittery _____
19. Active _____
20. Afraid _____

As you can see, the odd numbered items represent positive mood; the even items reflect negative mood.

Note that this is not an attempt to assess all moods; nor is it a mental health measure. It's simply a snapshot of how you're feeling at the time.

By tracking your moods during the day and correlating these with your trading performance, you can identify how your own feeling states might be affecting your perception, judgment, and decision-making. This is what I call, in my first book, "taking your emotional temperature". It's a great way to become an observer to your moods, rather than absorbed in them.


A Personality Questionnaire for Traders

Assessing Trader Learning Styles