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Study: Handling money decreases helpful behavior

It’s one of life’s less-charming little ironies: having money makes people less sensitive to others’ needs. That was the conclusion of a groundbreaking 2006 study, which found the mere thought of cash puts us in a mindset of self-sufficiency, in which we “prefer to be free of dependency and dependents.”

Ah, but researcher Kathleen Vohs’ experiments were conducted in a lab. Would such a depressing dynamic be found in a real-world setting?

Recently published research from France finds the answer is: sadly, yes. Researchers Nicolas Guéguen and Céline Jacob report that, in two experiments conducted near an ATM machine, “handling money several seconds earlier was associated with a decrease in helping behavior.”

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