- Handling money reduces the amount of pain people feel.
- In separate experiments, negative experiences, both physical and emotional, were blunted by cash.
- If real-world poverty follows this principle, those with less money may feel pain more acutely.
Money can't buy you love, happiness or even respect. Cash, however, might provide some relief from pain.
In a series of experiments, people who counted money felt less pain when their hands were dipped into scalding water. The soothing power of cash also helped them shrug off the emotional pain of social exclusion.
The findings might offer an easy way to ease life's stings and hurts, from painful medical treatments to social ostracism: Simply flip through a bulging wallet before enduring a painful experience.
"When people are reminded of money in a subtle manner by counting out hard currency, they experience painful situations as being not very painful," said lead author Kathleen Vohs, a consumer psychologist at the University of Minnesota's Carleton School of Management in the Twin Cities.
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