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The Psychological Consequences of Money

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Science 17 November 2006:

Vol. 314. no. 5802, pp. 1154 – 1156

DOI: 10.1126/science.1132491


The Psychological Consequences of Money

Kathleen D. Vohs,1* Nicole L. Mead,2 Miranda R. Goode3

“Money has been said to change people’s motivation (mainly for the better) and their behavior toward others (mainly for the worse). The results of nine experiments suggest that money brings about a self-sufficient orientation in which people prefer to be free of dependency and dependents. Reminders of money, relative to nonmoney reminders, led to reduced requests for help and reduced helpfulness toward others. Relative to participants primed with neutral concepts, participants primed with money preferred to play alone, work alone, and put more physical distance between themselves and a new acquaintance.”


The mentioned reminders consisted of either giving participants play money or having them sit in front of computers with money screen savers. Other students didn’t get any play money and sat at computers with non-monetary screen savers.


Those in the money groups were more self-sufficient than those who weren’t. They worked longer by themselves on assigned tasks before seeking help. But when asked by someone else for assistance, the students were less ready to help than those who weren’t exposed to money.


“As countries and cultures developed, money may have allowed people to acquire goods and services that enabled the pursuit of cherished goals, which in turn diminished reliance on friends and family,” Voh’s team wrote in a university release.

Sure, not everyone reacts the same way to money. But if the findings are correct, it may mean money affects every day life as well as family and community relationships.



Written by huehueteotl

March 4, 2007 at 1:30 pm

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