The More You Think About Money, The Less People Like You

The More You Think About Money, The Less People Like You

Denise ChowLiveScience | May 29, 2013, 9:51 PM | 1,425 | 3

WASHINGTON — Subtle reminders of money can affect the way people behave in social settings, causing them to be less engaged with others, suggests new research.

A group of researchers discussed results from ongoing investigations into how money impacts social relationships here at the 25th annual meeting of the Association for Psychological Science (APS) on Sunday (May 26).

“Money holds lots of different associations for different people,” said Kathleen Vohs, an associate professor of marketing in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who moderated an APS panel on the topic. “There can be social benefits and social costs to reminders of money.”To study whether money can impact social relationships, Nicole Mead, an assistant professor at the Rotterdam School of Management in The Netherlands, designed an experiment to gauge whether indirect reminders of money could influence how an individual perceives another person during a live encounter. [5 Ways Relationships Are Good For You]

Pairs of participants began by completing a survey, during which time one person was exposed to a reminder of money, such as having to fill out the survey on top of a laminated poster showing dollar bills.

The test subjects were then brought together to have a 10-minute structured conversation. The participants started with basic questions to get acquainted with one another, before moving toward more personal and intimate discussions.

“This was intended to mimic the growing development of a social relationship,” Mead explained.

Individuals who had been reminded of money perceived the other person to be less likeable during these interactions, indicating that even subtle money cues can impact interpersonal harmony.

The money priming didn’t make the other person seem “nasty or horrible or completely unlikeable, but just slightly dampened their interpersonal appeal,” Mead said.

Mead and her colleagues suggest that people have different expectations for social interactions involving money, which could explain these changes in behavior.

“We don’t think it’s necessarily the case that money makes people not want to have relationships with others in general, they just want very specific types of relationships,” Mead said. “It’s not a desire to be nasty or mean to other people, but just a subtle difference in wanting to engage in relationships based on principles of exchange rather than communal bonds.”

Since money has been ingrained as a way of exchanging goods or services for mutual benefit, people are less likely to invest personal emotions into these types of social interactions, Mead said.

“When you prime people with money, they approach their social interactions in a fundamentally different way than they normally would,” said Nathan DeWall, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, who has conducted similar research on the psychology of money. “Whereas when most people are presented with the possibility of having an interaction with another person, with anticipated rewards that accompany that, when you prime people with money, they just approach it in a socially disengaged and less rewarding manner. And this has profound consequences for their behavior.”

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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