There’s a good chance that if you had a genie who could grant you three wishes, one of those wishes would involve money. And lots of it. While it’d definitely be nice to pay off our mountain of student debt, being rich might not be as great as it sounds. Why? Because a study proved that being rich may cause you to care less about the people around you.
Psychologists connected with New York University posted a paper in the journal Psychological Science called “Social Class and the Motivational Relevance of Other Human Beings,” which states that being rich may make you tune out the people around you without realizing it. That means that more money may make you less aware of poverty and other social concerns (which may make you less in-tune with what’s going on in the world).
Here’s how it was tested: The team equipped 61 participants with Google Glasseses and simulated them walking down the street and passing other people (the study participants thought they were merely testing out the technology). The participants also provided information on their social classes, causing the researchers to note that wealthy people didn’t maintain eye contact with those they passed as much as other participants did.
They then did further testing to make sure their research was complete. For the second round of testing, they had participants view street scenes, where the researchers noticed that wealthier people didn’t observe the people in the scenes as much as everyone else. Wealthier people were also less likely to notice changes in other people’s appearances.
While it’s no secret that money can change you, we had no idea it could change the way you view others.
The research suggests that this happens partly because we tend to notice people who either can offer us something or who directly threaten us…and perhaps wealthy people feel less dependent or threatened than many others of us do.