Friday, November 17, 2006
Science Proves That Money Makes You Selfish
Here is a bit of scientific research that questions the assumption that capitalism unbound is an unalloyed social good. Psychologists at the University of Minnesota conducted an experiment to determine what effect a preoccupation with "money" would have on human behavior. Using subliminal hints, both visual and verbal, they continuously bombarded an experimental group with thoughts of "money". They gratuitously embedded words like "salary" into sentences, utilized images of currency as screen savers, and so on. You wouldn't think that anything so subliminal would have any effect at all, but apparently it did. When the subjects were compared to the control group, they were less communicative and helpful, and far less socially interactive as a whole. When presented with a difficult puzzle, they were less likely to seek help from others in solving the puzzle. Then, when presented with opportunities to help others - such as a spilled pencil box that needs to be picked up - they were less likely to pitch in and do their bit for the commonweal. Despite the fact that capitalism in the real world engages more cooperation than it deters, this experiment demonstrates that greed actually suppresses our natural desire to cooperate or even to communicate with other people. So much for the glue that holds our society together.
"Mere Thought Of Money Makes People Selfish" from LiveScience
"Keeping Money in Mind Makes People Less Helpful" from Scientific American