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Handling Money Brings Pain Relief 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the nothing-wrong-that-$50-wouldn't-fix dept.
Psychologists at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management have found that handling money can alleviate both physical and emotional pain. In one experiment, test subjects were found to feel less pain when their hands were dipped into scalding water after counting money. Lead author Kathleen Vohs said, "When people are reminded of money in a subtle manner by counting out hard currency, they experience painful situations as being not very painful. You could think about being able to charge yourself up before you encounter pain. When I used to run marathons, I would've maybe wanted to be reminded of money first."

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Handling Money Brings Pain Relief

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  • Cocaine (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daxx22 (1610473) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:36PM (#31818398)
    Maybe it's all the cocaine the bills have absorbed over time!
    • Re:Cocaine (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:57PM (#31818700) Homepage Journal

      Glad to see this as first post- it's *EXACTLY* the alternative explanation I thought- especially if the money in question is US currency in any paper format. I've heard cocaine residue can be found on up to 90% of US paper money that has been in circulation for more than a year.

      • by iamhassi (659463) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:13PM (#31818952) Journal
        "it's *EXACTLY* the alternative explanation I thought"

        I couldn't think of an explanation, so I decided to try it on my wife.

        Before I had her call the gas company to see where we're at (we're still catching up from a cold winter) I handed her a stack of twenties she didn't know I had (pimpin' ain't easy) and had her count them out.

        She was confused but obliged. After she was done I took the money from her hands and asked her to call. She asked what was up with the money. I explained the experiment and she said "OH I thought you were giving me the money, it's not going to help now!"

        That brings up a good point and the article is light on details so I have to ask: is it possible any of the participates were lead to believe they would be receiving all or a portion of the money they were counting out? Were they told upfront "You will not receive any of this money as part of this experiment"? And even if they were told, did anyone still think it was a possibility? I'm damn sure if you handed me 80 $100 bills and told me "We're doing an experiment, please count out this money" and said nothing else I would have a smile on my face until I was told to leave the research lab empty-handed.
        • Did you explain the experiment before she called or after? If you told her before she called, you tainted the result.
          • by iamhassi (659463)
            "Did you explain the experiment before she called or after? "

            Before, but the comments she made speak for themselves: if there was any possibility the participants believed they might be able to keep the money then you can not conclude "Handling Money Brings Pain Relief" because, obviously, the idea of receiving $8,000 would offer much relief from many, many pains.
            • by tsm_sf (545316)
              I'm pretty sure the subtext of the study was "we're greedy fucks".* Even gazing longingly at a framed portrait of Ben Franklin would probably work on some people.



              *(I know the period belongs inside the quotes, but the programmer in me rebels strenuously. Suck it Mr. Harlan.)
              • *(I know the period belongs inside the quotes, but the programmer in me rebels strenuously. Suck it Mr. Harlan.)

                I do the same thing. The period is not a part of the stuff that I wanted to put in the quote marks, so why should it go in there? When my sentence ends with just a plain word, I don't put a period just before the last letter. The programmer way actually makes more sense to me.

        • by stonewallred (1465497) on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:44PM (#31820380)
          I am in a great deal of pain due to a screwed up disc. If all the /. readers will send me $20.00 US, cash only, small bills are fine, I will undertake verifying this experiment myself, and will report my findings.
          • I'd help, but I'll have some trouble finding a note denomination so low that all of slashdotters'money together adds up 20$.

            Anyway don't lose hope and get await for the post with it to arrive... unless the postman keeps it to himself, of course.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

          If someone said they were doing an experiment and handed me wads of cash, I would have one of two conclusions. Either I'm going to hand that money back at some point, or I'm going to rob the guy and take it. It would not make sense for someone to do an experiment where you end up with piles of cash, although it has happened. But it has been so rare that you would consider it an anomaly.

          Of course you could read the article where it was explained as a finger dexterity exercise, so no it is not possible.

          Am

        • by chgros (690878)

          is it possible any of the participates were led to believe they would be receiving all or a portion of the money they were counting out?
          The article pointed out they were posing the experiment as a "finger dexterity test". I think it's reasonable to think that the test subjects wouldn't expect to keep the money. Furthermore, they almost certainly took the money back before doing the pain test.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by c++0xFF (1758032)

        Citation:

        http://www.snopes.com/business/money/cocaine.asp [snopes.com]

        The percentage is probably lower than 90% (33% to 50% in one study, 75% in another, 80% in a fourth, and a staggering 97% in a fifth).

        • by tomhudson (43916)

          The actual figure is 92.5% [slushdot.com] - and not just for $100 bills eithr.

          Zuo, who spoke about his research at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society on Sunday, found that $5, $10, $20 and $50 bills were more likely to be positive for cocaine than $1 bills.

          "Probably $1 is a little too less to purchase cocaine," Zuo said "I don't know exactly [why]. It's an educated guess."

          Cocaine binds to the green dye in money, he said.

          In 1998, Negrusz published similar findings after comparing freshly printe

        • you could easily do a study showing 100% of paper currency is radioactive! OMG!

          there's always a stray radioactive isotope somewhere. its the basis for carbon dating. this "drugs are on money!" hysteria is laughable

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Daxx22 (1610473)
        Well I posted this as a joke, as I think that while you can find cocaine/drug residue on a large percentage of money in circulation, the actual amount is so low there is no way it could have an actual effect. Kinda like smoking Hemp to get high. You'd die of smoke inhalation before you even got a buzz.
      • by spun (1352) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {yranoituloverevol}> on Monday April 12, 2010 @02:30PM (#31820142) Journal

        It is not readily absorbed through the skin, which is why it was only used as a topical anesthetic of the mucus membranes such as the mouth, eyes, and ears. It is also not powerful enough that the trace amounts in money could have any effect.

        • by spun (1352)

          Did I say ears? Damn it. I meant nose. Well, that's what too much, ah, never mind. Forget I said that.

          • by Dogtanian (588974)

            Did I say ears? Damn it. I meant nose. Well, that's what too much, ah, never mind. Forget I said that.

            There's a story (possibly an urban legend, as she denies it) about Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks having the stuff blown up her arse to avoid damaging her noise/voice.

        • Funny, when I was given it in the hospital for a cut over my eye, it worked wonderfully well. In fact, it was the only anestheic I needed for getting sewn up.

          • by spun (1352)

            Yes, if you have an open cut it could be absorbed that way, too.

      • by blair1q (305137)

        So?

        I'd bet that 100% of paper money that has been in circulation for more than ten days has detectable levels of fecal coliform bacteria on it.

    • You beat me to that, but it is interesting when the US FBI offices do a random check on bills for counterfitting, they also do tox screen checks, and usually come up with a number in the high 90s percentage wise of which bills have had that substance somehow contaminating them

    • Maybe it's all the cocaine the bills have absorbed over time!

      Don't forget about the amount of fecal matter on there. Now there's some nose candy for you.

    • by DigiWood (311681)

      90% of all US currency has traces of cocaine.
      http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/08/14/cocaine.traces.money/index.html [cnn.com]

  • by Target Practice (79470) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:39PM (#31818426)

    Psychologists at the University of Minnesota's Carleton *School of Management*

    Does anyone else see the correlation? Their sample group was entirely MBA-types.

    • by cgenman (325138) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:15PM (#31818978) Homepage

      Summary: Being broke hurts.

    • by Targon (17348)

      That was my exact thought when I read this. There will always be people who are obsessed with money....now, give me a Radeon 5970 setup with the Samsung MD230 as a monitor, and I wouldn't notice much pain.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Now, only to find cheap substitutes which can be semi-regularly administered and our economies might start to improve...

    • by djdavetrouble (442175) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:42PM (#31819418) Homepage

      Observe the following Young Jeezy Lyrics:

      I used to get bored, count 20's for practice
      Paper therapy, we let the money relax us

      • "Practice/Relax us" - I do believe I've finally encountered a rhyme in the same ballpark as Steve Miller's "Texas/Taxes/Facts is" rhyme. No need to fear, SMB fans! The true horribleness of the latter remains unbested.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      Actually, I highly doubt the study group was made up of MBA students. MBA students are busy studying and going to class and probably already have money (I should know, I'm one of them). The study group was probably broke-ass art students who have nothing better to do with their time and desperately need the $20 that are usually offered to take place in studies.

    • Psychologists at the University of Minnesota's Carleton *School of Management*

      Does anyone else see the correlation? Their sample group was entirely MBA-types.

      No kidding ... they chose one of the most mercenary groups available. I like money but I haven't devoted my life to acquire it. In my case, maybe having me count solid-state hard disks, or maybe quad-core motherboards would work. I think all this "study" proves is that when you're distracted you don't hurt as much. BFD.

      When people are reminded of money in a subtle manner by counting out hard currency

      That's subtle? As Inigo Montoya once said, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

    • by chgros (690878) <`gro.x4m' `ta' ` ... g.irneh-selrahc'> on Monday April 12, 2010 @03:16PM (#31820852) Homepage

      I'm glad you're so much smarter than those researchers would couldn't possibly know about sampling bias.

  • by Atreide (16473) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:41PM (#31818444)

    next time I cheat my girlfriend
    I would pay a professional lady with hard currency
    so that when I face my girlfriend
    I will be relieved from emotional pain

  • WTF? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Itninja (937614) on Monday April 12, 2010 @12:41PM (#31818458) Homepage

    test subjects were found to feel less pain when their hands were dipped into scalding water after counting money

    Who was running this experiment, Dr. Mengele?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jeng (926980)

      Don't feel too bad for the test subjects, they were just future PHB's going after their MBA.

      Most probably the person who devised the test was in IT.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      Seriously! I thought these kinds of experiments had been outlawed. At the very least, no reputable institution would touch it with a 10 foot pole.
      • by neumayr (819083)
        How would you go about studying pain?
        Tons of reasons for doing that, especially finding ways to relieve pain. And no better (practical) way than to actually cause pain.

        People endure pain all the time, hoping for some kind of reward that outweighs the pain endured. For some, helping science and a twenty dollar bill is enough reward to endure a little cold water. Which really isn't that bad, after all, people go for a swim in frozen lakes just for fun.
        • by neumayr (819083)
          Okay, so scalding doesn't mean what I thought it meant. Doesn't matter, people voluntarily expose themselves to heat as well.
          • by Itninja (937614)
            Really? I have yet to see mentally sound people gleefully allowing themselves to be painfully burned. Maybe the Goth or emo crowd....
  • Let me fondle my pay in cash each morning and pay me daily. I can sprinkle (lightly) the cash on my bed and sleep naked for maximum effect. Would the shredded money from from the federal reserve have the same effect?
    • > Would the shredded money from from the federal reserve have the same effect?

      Buy it, stuff matresses with it, and sell them via Sharper Image.

    • by mhajicek (1582795)
      Just think how many grubby mitts have been on that cash, how many fat boys have sweated on it as it sat folded in their back pocket. And you want to lay in it naked? Ewww...
  • Apparently money really can buy happiness?
    • That would only be true if the alleviation of pain is happiness... (i.e. you're a masochist that denies himself pain for pleasure...)
    • Apparently money really can buy happiness?

      No, what they're saying (perhaps without realising it), is that giving someone money will distract them enough that they don't feel pain so much. A good scratch will do the same thing, causing pain in one place and thereby distracting you from pain elsewhere.

      I just don't know why this kind of pseudo-science is encouraged at unis.

    • Apparently money really can buy happiness?

      Another way to spin it would be to say that preoccupation with money can lead one to overlook painful consequences.

  • but is it enough relief to overcome having to then hand said cash over in exchange for [overpriced product]
  • Ig Nobel? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kav2k (1545689)
    I guess we have an Ig Nobel Prize candidate here..
  • Don't see why it wouldn't have other medicinal uses. An injection for simple pain would probably run significantly less than $180,000 too.

  • I guess all these rappers are onto something.
  • Now try it with Monopoly money.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:03PM (#31818776)

    ... the pain sets in.

  • by Mr Z (6791) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:05PM (#31818818) Homepage Journal

    Barf: I know we need the money, but...

    Lone Starr: Listen! We're not just doing this for money!

    Barf: [Barf looks at him, raises his ears]

    Lone Starr: We're doing it for a S**T LOAD of money!

  • > When I used to run marathons, I would've maybe wanted to be reminded of
    > money first.

    But that would've reduced the pain! What runner would want that? Isn't pain what it's all about?

  • Like smiling? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RobertM1968 (951074) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:12PM (#31818930) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps it's similar to how making someone smile affects the person who smiles?

    Of course, that would be kinda sad if money has gotten so all-important to people's emotional and mental well-being.

    That's part sarcasm and part observation about how our very materialistic society has changed our core values to create such a situation where one has to recognize the "importance" of money at least in order to survive in this society...

  • South Park Did It! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JoshDM (741866) on Monday April 12, 2010 @01:13PM (#31818946) Homepage Journal

    It's like the "Simpsons Did It!", except with South Park [southparkstudios.com].

    tl;dr - According to South Park, the cure for AIDS is money.

    • by Tynin (634655)
      I was trying to remember that it was South Park, but my mind kept distracting me with...

      Good evening, and welcome to The Money Programme. Tonight on The Money Programme, we're going to look at money. Lots of it. On film, and in the studio. Some of it in nice piles, others in lovely clanky bits of loose change. Some of it neatly counted into fat little hundreds, delicate fivers stuffed into bulging wallets, nice crisp clean checks, pert pieces of copper coinage thrust deep into trouser pockets, romant
  • We already know that expensive placebo can bring pain relief [nytimes.com]. Now we can completely eliminate the pill, save all the expenses related to drug development testing and production. All we need to do is charge people more for nothing and they will feel better. Isn't this a perfect business plan.
  • Who in the hell signs up for a study where they receive second-degree burns on their hands?
  • pedantic = on

    It's the 'Carlson School of Management', not Carleton.

  • Did anyone see the pilot episode of Ducktales?
    Scrooge McDuck is diagnosed with cancer. That's why he spends the rest of the series swimming in his money.

    It's really kind of a sad show when you know the whole story.

  • When I was a kid I remember watching Richie Rich, including swimming in and counting money, seems he knew what he was doing :)

  • I got my very worst headaches when I worked as a retail clerk and handled hundreds of dollars every day. My fellow retail clerks also suffered frequent headaches.
  • given how many people go out and buy something when they're down.
    Women supposedly do it so often it became a sitcom meme ages ago.

    Still, doing a study on it might have some merit. Now those scientists at least have some idea what's up when their women go on a shopping spree :)
  • All I needed to know about the Carlson School of Management [urbandictionary.com] I learned from Urbandictionary (third definition)
  • As with any repetetive task person enters the trance. Nothing new here: count bills, sheep, whatever.

  • About a year ago, I found my mother's body. I'll spare you the details, but the experience was traumatic and I've been rather severely depressed since then. I was no singing nightengale before but the last year has been excruciating.

    One small thing I've done to make me feel better is that I now carry around a substantial roll of cash. I'm far from well-to-do but, nevertheless, I've started carrying much more cash than ever before. It's more than just for convenience. I think everyone knows that there a

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