New Scientist provides a comprehensive summary of studies looking at the psychology of money. There are some fascinating findings here, including a study showing that “simply thinking about words associated with money seems to makes us more self-reliant and less inclined to help others [and] just handling cash can take the sting out of social rejection and even diminish physical pain”.
Our relationship with money has many facets. Some people seem addicted to accumulating it, while others can’t help maxing out their credit cards and find it impossible to save for a rainy day. As we come to understand more about money’s effect on us, it is emerging that some people’s brains can react to it as they would to a drug, while to others it is like a friend. Some studies even suggest that the desire for money gets cross-wired with our appetite for food. And, of course, because having a pile of money means that you can buy more things, it is virtually synonymous with status – so much so that losing it can lead to depression and even suicide. In these cash-strapped times, perhaps an insight into the psychology of money can improve the way we deal with it.
*The original article has, since posting this, gone behind a paywall. Simoleon Sense has some extensive excerpts.