Money in Mind

See? I knew we needed a twelve-step program for money addiction. And I wonder who funded four separate studies of something that seems pretty obvious, really. Why would they do that? Why indeed.


Just thinking about money can corrupt you
By Blake Ellis @blakeellis3
June 17, 2013: 4:21 AM ET
When money is on your mind, you may be more likely to act unethically.

Simply thinking about money can trigger people to lie, steal and make unethical decisions, new research shows.
People who have just seen images of money or phrases about money are more likely to do something unethical like steal paper from their office because they ran out of paper at home. They’re more apt to hire a candidate who says he will share confidential insider information about his former company. And if it means winning money, they’re more likely to lie to get it.
These results come from four studies conducted by researchers at Harvard University and University of Utah. There were 324 participants overall, and to get a group of the participants to subconsciously think about money, researchers showed them images of currency or asked them to unscramble words to form money-related phrases.
“Across all of these studies we found that participants who were merely exposed to the concept of money were more likely to demonstrate unethical intentions, decisions, and behavior than participants in a control condition,” said Kristin Smith-Crowe, one of the study’s authors and an associate professor at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business.
Why? Because the exposure to money puts participants in a business mind frame — leading them to make business decisions based on monetary benefits and big payoffs instead of morals, the study found.
When it comes to real world implications, the findings indicate that everyday exposure to money may be influencing peoples’ actions and decisions more than we think.
“These findings suggest that money is a more insidious corrupting factor than previously appreciated, as mere, subtle exposure to money can be a corrupting influence,” the study concludes.


But now I’m a little worried. Am I contributing to the delinquency of my readers by even posting this piece? My hope is that if we know this can happen, we may have a better chance to fight our baser instincts, or the strong cultural conditioning behind this phenomenon. It may not be easy, but let’s do our best, friends and neighbors.

Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy, so they’ll have jobs, and get enough money to buy things. –Philip E. Slater


About l. l. frederick

I'm pretty ordinary, so I find any number of things in the world interesting, among them: books, music, flowers, food, social justice, politics and (sometimes!) people. As for my writing, I've decided that I can be subtle and tasteful when our only problems are esthetic ones. Or when I'm dead, whichever comes first. In the meantime, read at your own risk.
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3 Responses to Money in Mind

  1. Henry Jekyll says:

    It’s nice to know that there are others who couldn’t give a damn about keeping up with the Joneses. Nice post.

    • Beyond its usefulness in meeting our basic needs, and perhaps for having a little fun now and then, what the hell is money good for anyway? Someone said the trouble with being poor is it takes all your time, but it seems that the preoccupation with money, for rich or poor, is a huge waste of time, and most destructive of our mental health.

      Of course, I may just be like Mark Twain, who said “I am opposed to millionaires, but it would be dangerous to offer me the position”. So far, that’s not been a big problem. Thanks for your time and your generous comment.

  2. Pingback: Can we do better? | highgradediscourse

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