Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Does Money Make The Miser?

tidbits that tantalize

Who Needs Friends?

Do you have money on the brain? Do the approaching holidays fill you with dread over skyrocketing prices for glitzy gadgets? Or, are you all warm and tingly inside over a holiday bonus that makes your heart go, "Ho, Ho, Ho?" Either way, it's likely you'll be less social this season than if the thought of money never crossed your mind.

Money and the ME factor:

Research indicates just thinking about money may turn a person into a reclusive miser, shunning all social contact and, for better or worse, going it alone in this harsh, inhospitable habitat we call home.

Well... yes, that may be a slight overstatement.

Researchers did find, however, the simple act of thinking about money has a significant impact on the behavior of otherwise normal college students. Thinking... not having, earning, spending, touching - just thinking about. The results suggest money tends to foster independence and, while that's generally viewed as a good thing, it also increases social isolation.

To assess independence, volunteers in the Money Group (MG's) read essays that referred to money, or viewed images that related to money. They were then asked to solve a difficult puzzle and told they could ask for help. The MG's hunkered down and spent, on average, 70% more time working alone before asking for assistance than the control group.

The MG's were also less altruistic. Following the introduction of subtle monetary cues, the MG's spent only about half as much time assisting others who needed help, were more likely to choose solitary leisure pursuits and even tended to move their chairs further away from others than the control group.

What does it all mean? The bottom line message appears to be that "Money Matters." Whether money is a positive or negative influence is open for discussion. Independence is an admirable and necessary personal trait. Isolation is loneliness in dismal daily doses.

Do you want to reconnect?

Try this. Invite a few close friends over for a barbeque, gather them around the fire and tell them to empty their wallets. As you feed the flames with the fodder of finance watch the walls of social isolation crumble. Soon you and your friends will be as close as ever. After all, it's hard to cry on each other's shoulders from a distance.

To read more, see this from Science.