Merely activating the concept of money changes personal and interpersonal behavior

Kathleen D. Vohs, Nicole L. Mead, Miranda R. Goode

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

214 Scopus citations


Money plays a significant role in people's lives, and yet little experimental attention has been given to the psychological underpinnings of money. We systematically varied whether and to what extent the concept of money was activated in participants' minds using methods that minimized participants' conscious awareness of the money cues. On the one hand, participants reminded of money were less helpful than were participants not reminded of money, and they also preferred solitary activities and less physical intimacy. On the other hand, reminders of money prompted participants to work harder on challenging tasks and led to desires to take on more work as compared to participants not reminded of money. In short, even subtle reminders of money elicit big changes in human behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-212
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2008


  • Competency
  • Helping
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Money
  • Performance
  • Self

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