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Archive Stories
Archived stories from 2013

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Broker brain scans reveal activity

Risk managers sometimes claim that their brokers understand them. A new study suggests they could be right. By placing brokers in an MRI scanner, researchers from Essex found that the broker brain reacts to voices in the same way that the normal human brain does. Emotionally charged sounds, such as crying or laughter, also prompted similar responses, perhaps explaining why brokers sometimes appear to be attuned to human emotions.

"Gramps" H. Bunion III

Lead author Prof Brian Branestawm, from the Academy of Science in Billericay, said:

Eleven London market brokers took part in the study and training them took some time.

For comparison, the team looked at the brains of 22 normal human volunteers in the same MRI scanners. The scientists played the people and the intermediaries 200 different sounds, ranging from environmental noises, such as car sounds and whistles, to human sounds (but not words) and broker vocalisations.

The researchers found that a similar region - the temporal pole, which is the most anterior part of the temporal lobe - was activated when both the brokers and normal people heard risk manager or client voices. The scientist said the next focus of his activity would be to examine brokers' response to words rather than just sounds.

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