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Home > Science > Experiments > The Psychological Forces Behind Money Issues

The Psychological Forces Behind Money Issues

Submitted by: Nancy L. Young-Houser


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Those who have read about the "rubber hand illusion" can easily recognize that illusions appear real within the mind. Scientists involved in the studies have found that the brain represents the entire body, involving multi-sensory integration for the muscles, skin and eyes. In order to perceive the entire body, they need to be combined through integration.


Using the rubber hand illusion as an example, place an inflated rubber glove on a flat piece of cardboard located in front. Placing the real hand behind the back, place the fake hand on a table in front of you. With two small soft paintbrushes, have one person stroke the hand behind the body (the real one) while the fake hand is also being brushed by another person. Focus on the fake hand until the illusion of that hand being the real one takes effect.


This same illusion kicks in every time we have adequate money in our lives while carrying the same weird type of psychological force. Studies have found that simply focusing on words associated with money will cause a person to become self-reliant yet less inclined to help other individuals. Worse yet, the handling of cash allows a person to not care if they are socially rejected. It also causes a person to feel less physical pain than without it. This kind of data makes us wonder what money consists of where it can change the personality of people so much.


Money or cash affects people in many different ways. Some people are addicted to saving it, while others are addicted to spending in. Either way, it changes who we are.  As more and more data comes in, it appears that the brains of people react to money as if it were a drug they were taking. Odd that it is, some of the studies are showing the money can become short-wired in their thinking along with their appetite for food.  Losing money causes depression and suicide as our minds associated it with our status in the world. This is dangerous thinking during a time when we are in a recession, and money is becoming very scarce.


The Massachusetts Insitute of Technology has performed studies with modern society, presenting two different sets of behavioral rules. Led by Daniel Ariely, the set of market norms revolves around money and competition with an encouragement to put "self" first, while the second set is best described as warm and fuzzy, designed to foster trust, cooperation, and long-term relationships.


Any linking to money automatically will place us in a "market-oriented mentality" while acting in a manner that is characteristic to it. "Money makes people feel self-sufficient," says Kathleen Vohs in the department of marketing at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. "They are more likely to put forth effort to attain personal goals, and they also prefer to be separate from others."



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Nancy L. Young-Houser is a professional writer and illustrator, in addition to providing a home for dogs on all levels of need with her best friend, Sandra Marquiss. Her writings include controversial subjects as part of the soapbox she has carried around since childhood, never leaving home without it. Part of this soapbox is her website filled with lots of four-legged information!

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