Handling or even contemplating money can relieve both physical pain and the distress of social rejection, according to a study by Chinese and American psychologists1. But remembering cash one has spent intensifies both types of hurt. The findings suggest that the mere thought of having money makes people feel physically stronger and less dependent on the approval of others to satisfy their needs. “Money activates a general sense of confidence, strength, and efficacy,” the researchers propose.
The study backs up previous experiments in which experimental subjects who had been subconsciously primed with thoughts of money were less likely to ask for help on difficult tasks. “Previous work hadn't gone as far as to link reminders of money to something at a physical perceptual level,” explains Kathleen Vohs of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who was involved in both past research and the present study, which was published in Psychological Science.