While money can’t buy happiness, it might just be able to reduce pain. That’s the finding of an interesting piece of research from the University of Minnesota. Apparently cash and reminders of cash can help to reduce physical and emotional pain.
Indeed, according to U of M researcher Kathleen Vohs:
“When people are reminded of money, it gives them an inner strength… and that means when they face challenges and adversity, after being freshly reminded of money, they’re able to handle them better.”
In one study, Vohs split her subjects into two test groups. One test group was handed money, whereas another was given slips of paper. They were then asked to put their hands in hot water and rate their level of pain.
Interestingly, the subjects in the cash group reported significantly lower discomfort than those in the plain paper group. In a related study, cash handlers who were later shunned by others while playing a computer game felt less excluded than the plain paper group.
Here’s a short video of Vohs describing some of her work:
As for possible applications of her findings, Vohs suggests that airlines should consider offering cash compensation instead of vouchers to travelers that experience unreasonable delays. Similarly, she thinks that doctors should consider providing patients with cash reminders to reduce discomfort.
What do you think? Does cash make you more tolerant of discomfort? Keep in mind that we’re not talking about getting paid here. Rather, it appears that just coming into contact with a bit of green is enough to have an effect.