Money Changes Everything, Including People's Behavior and Motivations

When it comes down to money, individuals become more self-sufficient and mostly rely on themselves, but they also become more self-centered and egoistic

By on 17 Nov 2006, 11:05 GMT
Money has both a positive and a negative impact on people worldwide - the positive aspect is related to people's motivations, as they would work harder to achieve personal goals, but this also triggers a negative social aspect, as people who want to earn more and more money become more insensitive, cautious and less friendly. Consequently, there are two sides of the same coin whenever it comes to money, the good and the bad side, according to a recent report carried out by a team of psychology experts at the Florida State University and Minnesota University.

The study is entitled "The Psychological Consequences of Money" and is due to be published in the Science Journal. The leader of the study is Kathleen Vohs, an assistant marketing professor at the University of Minnesota and the report was co-authored by University of Florida psychology graduate student Nicole Mead and Miranda Goode, a doctoral student at the University of British Columbia.

Commenting on the effects money has on individuals' motivations and behavior, Prof. Vohs stated: "The mere presence of money changes people. The effect can be negative, it can be positive. Exposure to money, or the concept of money, elevates a sense of self-sufficiency" and causes people to do their best to earn more money, but at the same time, money makes people less inclined to indulge in social relationships. Mead added: "Money changes people's motivations. They want to work really hard to achieve their goals. Consequently, they are less focused on other people. In this sense, money can be a barrier to social intimacy." The study consisted in a series of 9 experiments which included puzzles or other tasks. Participants in the trial were assigned to two groups - while completing tasks of each experiment, subjects in one group had to consider money when responding to requirements of tests, while those in the other group did not have to think about money.

Overall results of the study showed that people who thought constantly about money were more self-sufficient, rarely asking for help, but at the same time, more self-centered as they did not show many signs of wanting to socialize with the others or develop any kind of relationships.

The authors of the study concluded in their report: "The self-sufficient pattern explains why people view money as both the greatest good and evil. 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. In this way, money enhanced individualism but diminished communal motivations, an effect that is still apparent in people's responses to money today."

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