A recent study entitled The Psychological Consequences of Money shows that people with money on their mind are less likely to help others. Here’s the abstract:
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.
An article on MSN Money describes how the study was performed at the University of Minnesota, Florida State University and the University of British Columbia.
Students and non-students involved in the study were split into two groups. The control group received neutral preconditioning while the experimental group participated in money-related activities. The two groups then participated in scenarios and the experimenters monitored their behavior.
In the final three experiments, money-prime participants placed more physical distance between themselves and a participant partner, preferred solitary to group leisure activities and more frequently chose to work alone rather than with a peer compared to the control participants.
If you’re reading this website, chances are you have money on the mind. Perhaps you think about money-related issues more than most people, especially if you are interested of taking control of your personal finances, like I am. If the study is accurate, that means you are less likely to work with other people, less likely to ask for help when needed, and less likely to help others in need when performing activities.
Updated June 24, 2016 and originally published February 5, 2007.