3 Just Thinking About Money Makes You Depressed and Unethical
Ever wonder why people who are obsessed with money are often miserable? Sure, there are exceptions, but often it seems like most people for whom money is an important part of their lives tend to turn into wolves of Wall Street. Well, experiments show that, for whatever reason, just thinking about money makes people unhappy (and occasionally slightly evil). And we don't mean that spending a day contemplating your overdue bills ruins your mood -- that would be obvious. Experiments show that even momentary, subconscious reminders that money is a thing is enough to darken the spirits of most people.
"I won the lottery? Ugh. Just ... fine. Give it here."
In one study, they had a group of participants fill out a short questionnaire, after which they were rewarded with a bar of chocolate (scientists kind of assume that everyone has the mind of a toddler). For half of the participants, the questionnaire came with a photograph of some money. That's all; just a photo. Despite the fact that it wasn't real money and nobody was even told they'd be getting real money, the folks who glimpsed the photo reported less enjoyment from eating the chocolate than those who hadn't. The simple pleasure was downgraded with nothing more than a reminder that money exists.
In another experiment, researchers split 50 test subjects into two random groups. The first group was exposed to a variety of money-related cues and phrases, as well as a bunch of neutral ones, while the second group was exposed exclusively to neutral cues. Both sets of participants were asked to assess how likely they were to commit a variety of morally questionable acts (for example, pilfering office supplies). Those who had been exposed to the money cues -- who had merely seen some words and pictures related to money -- were more willing to engage in dodgy behavior. This might be the reason you see so much questionable behavior in strip clubs (although there might be others).
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"Pour Some Sugar on Me" is the pervert's Pavlovian bell.
Anyway, the theory is that the thought of money elicits in us a physiological condition researchers refer to as a "business decision frame." Whenever the topic of money comes up, our brains go into selfish mode, resulting in a heightening of the "fuck everyone but me" instinct.
2 Looking at the Color Green Makes You More Creative
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So you've finally decided to get around to writing that novel you've been developing in your head for the past few years. You know, the one where the residents of an orbiting sex colony find a way to clone dinosaurs with cyborg parts (Working title: Cybersaurus and the Space Hookers). What would be the ideal place to bang out your masterpiece? An idyllic, homely cottage in the woods? Or your dingy, waterlogged basement?
You know, if the very public, self-aggrandizing coffee shop isn't an option.
It turns out that "going back to nature" might have more of a benefit to creativity than just the peace and quiet and singing animals. We've already looked into the bizarre ways that colors control your mind, specifically the colors red and blue, which affect everything from how well you do on a test to how fast you heal. Well, as it turns out, there are other colors on the spectrum that do freaky things to your brain: Being exposed to green can apparently make you more creative.
Researchers gave subjects a number of creative tests after exposing them to the color green for as little as two seconds, while another group was exposed to colors such as white, gray, red, and blue. In one experiment, participants were asked to come up with as many esoteric uses they could for a tin can within two minutes; another experiment asked participants to develop as many different shapes as they could from a given geometric shape. Although the participants weren't made aware of the intentions of the researchers, in all cases, those who had been exposed to the color green prior to the study came up tops.
It's no coincidence that St. Patrick's Day always produces that unique kind of drunkenness.
Scientists have uncreatively decided to call this "the green effect" (maybe if they planted a few more trees around the place they would have been able to come up with something better), and it appears to be due to the fact that green is the color of nature and our brains have evolved to loosen up at the calming sight of trees and grass. Unless the green comes in the form of dollar bills, as we mentioned before. Hey, mind control is a complicated business.