A new paper explores the relationship between money, social exclusion and physical pain.
The paper, “The symbolic power of money: reminders of money alter social distress and physical pain” explores how money could reduce a person’s feeling of pain and also negate their need for social popularity.
In the article published in Psychological Science, authors Xinyue Zhou, Kathleen Vohs and Roy Baumeister determine interpersonal rejection and physical pain caused desire for money to increase.
“Money can possibly substitute for social acceptance in conferring the ability to obtain benefits from the social system. Moreover, past work has suggested that responses to physical pain and social distress share common underlying mechanisms,” say the authors.
Furthermore, “Handling money (compared with handling paper) reduced distress over social exclusion and diminished the physical pain of immersion in hot water. Being reminded of having spent money, however, intensified both social distress and physical pain.”
“This research extends our understanding of relationships between social pain and physical pain, and remarkably, shows how acquired symbolic value of money,” external reviewer, Harriet de Wit, commented. “Perhaps because of associations with power or control, can influence responses to both emotional and physical pain.”