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1 In 10 Wall Street Employees Is A Psychopath, Claim Is Disputed [UPDATE]

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An article that appeared on The Huffington Post on February 28, 2012, "One Out Of Every Ten Wall Street Employees Is A Psychopath, Say Researchers," was incorrect and has been removed.

The article drew on a previously published piece by Sherree DeCovny, "The Financial Psychopath Next Door," which ran in CFA Magazine [subscription required]. DeCovny's article contained the following passage:

Studies conducted by Canadian forensic psychologist Robert Hare indicate that about 1 percent of the general population can be categorized as psychopathic, but the prevalence rate in the financial services industry is 10 percent. And Christopher Bayer believes, based on his experience, that the rate is higher.

In a conversation this week with The Huffington Post, DeCovny said that Bayer, a psychologist who treats financial services professionals, provided the "10 percent" figure. DeCovny said that Bayer cited the work of Robert Hare during their interview.

In fact, Hare's research has indicated that out of a group of 203 corporate professionals studied in one experiment, approximately 4 percent could be considered psychopathic.

In a statement to the website Psych Central, Hare said that the group studied was not randomly selected and not "necessarily representative of managers or executives, or of the corporations in which they work." Hare told Psych Central that the 4 percent figure "cannot be be generalized to the larger population of managers and executives, or to CEOs and the 'financial services industry.'"

Bayer told The Huffington Post that he personally estimates the rate to be at least 10 percent, but that is only an estimate based on his own reading and on his personal experience and observation.

DeCovny told HuffPost that she stands by her story.

CFA Magazine did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

The Huffington Post regrets the inaccuracy.

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