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Br J Soc Psychol. 2017 Jun;56(2):354-372. doi: 10.1111/bjso.12158. Epub 2016 Sep 9.

The love of money results in objectification.

Author information

1
Department of Experimental Psychology, University College London, UK.

Abstract

Objectification, which refers to the treatment of others as objectlike things, has long been observed in capitalism. While the negative impact of money on interpersonal harmony has been well documented, the social cognitive processes that underlie them are relatively unknown. Across four studies, we explored whether the love of money leads to objectification, while controlling for social power and status. In Study 1, the love and importance attached to money positively predicted the tendency to construe social relationships based on instrumentality. In Study 2, the likelihood to favour a target of instrumental use was increased by momentarily activating an affective state of being rich. Temporarily heightening the motivation for money further resulted in deprivation of mental capacities of irrelevant others, including humans (Study 3) and animals (Study 4). This lack of perceived mental states partially mediated the effects of money on subsequent immoral behaviour (Study 4). The findings are the first to reveal the role of objectification as a potential social cognitive mechanism for explaining why money often harms interpersonal harmony.

KEYWORDS:

immorality; instrumentality; market-pricing mode; mental state; money; objectification

PMID:
27611242
DOI:
10.1111/bjso.12158
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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