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How money affects your brain and your behavior
How money affects your brain and your behavior

Wealth can make you more immoral, and poverty can make you stupider.

How money affects your brain and your behavior
How money affects your brain and your behavior

Money affects the brain like drugs

Of course, just looking at the bill is not enough for this. But if you are in a situation in which, by the will of circumstances, you can get or lose some amount of money, or negotiate about them, then the brain activity increases. This is especially true for the nucleus accumbens, an area that is part of the reward system and is important for processing motivation and emotion.

The more risky the situation, the stronger the activity. The brain scans of the people who participated in the experiment turned out to be almost identical to the MRI results of cocaine addicts.

Lack of money makes it difficult to reason soberly

It is believed that people earn little because they are not smart enough. However, scientists were able to prove that the opposite is true: lack of money makes them make the wrong decisions. Due to the stress caused by financial problems, a person partially loses the ability to process information, analyze the situation and determine priorities.

In the United States, researchers asked a group of people to solve a hypothetical problem - to think about how to pay for car repairs. And then they were given several unrelated spatial and logical problems. It turned out that people with low incomes did a poor job if they had to pay a lot for repairs, and well if they didn't. Subjects with high incomes were equally successful in both situations.

For the next experiment, the researchers moved to India and asked the farmers to complete several tasks before harvest, when there was no money, and after. And again the hypothesis was confirmed.

Scientists have concluded that the more you worry about a difficult financial situation, the less resources are left for other things. So, it is better not to make important decisions in conditions when a mouse hangs in the refrigerator, and the soles of your favorite sneakers are peeled off. The risk is great that it will only get worse.

An unprofitable offer can be smelled by gut

In one study, participants were paired. One of them had to offer the terms of the deal, the other - to accept or reject. Both received money only if they could agree. Logically, it would be beneficial for the second subject to agree to any option in order to get at least something. However, people in this group turned down half of the proposals that were about small amounts.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for complex decisions. It was she who worked when the participants heard how much they could get. But if the offer was unfair, then the activity affected the islet lobe, which is responsible for emotions.

It is important that there are spindle-shaped cells in the islet lobe, as in the stomach. And this digestive organ often responds when it comes to strong emotions. So the unfairness of the deal can be felt both in the brain and in the stomach.

Wealth Prevents Privileges from Seeing

If you work a lot, you will get a lot - everything seems logical here. But rich people tend to think that their earnings are only their merit. At the same time, they willingly write off the factors of chance, luck and other circumstances beyond the control of a person.

This works not only with real money, but also with bills from Monopoly. This game has been destroying families and friendships since 1935. But in the experiment, the conditions were tightened and simply gave pairs of players different rules. One of them didn't have a chance to win.

The researchers recorded how the participants behaved. The more a person won, the more rude and tactless he was in relation to other people at the table. He celebrated the victory in advance, on his move loudly slammed a piece on the playing field.

It's worth remembering that well-being can affect how you relate to people. This will not always be true: sometimes it's you, not them. Keep track of this moment so as not to turn into an arrogant asshole.

More money means less empathy

We will logically continue the previous point. People with lower economic status have a better understanding of what the expressions of others mean. This is supported by studies of neural empathic responses.

However, such results do not speak about the special kind-heartedness of poor people. They are simply forced to respond more sharply to potential social threats because of their perpetually vulnerable position. The prosperous life of the rich is less dependent on those around them.

Money and immorality are linked

Members of the privileged classes are more likely to violate laws and ethical norms. It's not just about money, it's about inequality in general. But finance, of course, affects the situation. Let's say people in expensive cars are four times more likely to interfere with others at intersections than drivers of cheaper cars. Also, upper-class test subjects were more likely to cheat, cheat, and more willingly agree to participate in dubious schemes.

Thinking about money relieves pain and suffering

In one study, participants were asked to dip their hands in a bowl of water heated to 50 ° C. Before that, some of them counted money, others just sheets of paper. Subjects from the first group felt much less discomfort than those from the second.

Two conclusions can be drawn here at once:

  • Do not pay too much attention to money, otherwise you can forget that there are other aspects of life in which there can be problems.
  • Money is a good distraction if you are faced with something that bothers you, but does not depend on your actions.

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