The psychological meaning of money

Tomaszob Zaleskiewicz, Agata Gasiorowska, Kathleen D. Vohs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

10 Scopus citations


This chapter aims to demonstrate the psychological consequences of money. It begins by explaining how the disciplines of economics and psychology differ in how they define the main functions of money and the role it plays in people’s lives. The chapter then argues that the invention of money several thousand years ago changed the system of trade (by replacing barter), as well as affected processes related to social interactions. Following this line of reasoning are three predictions: money increases people’s focus on self and their own goals; money impairs warm, caring social behaviour; and money alters morals and values. The chapter elaborates on the origins of these predictions and then presents experimental evidence on the some psychological consequences of money. It further explains how the technique of money priming has been used to test the described hypotheses. Finally, the chapter reviews empirical research conducted to test the mentioned predictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEconomic Psychology
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons Inc.
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781118926352
ISBN (Print)9781118926345
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Economic psychology
  • Empirical research
  • Money priming
  • Psychological consequences
  • Social behaviour
  • Social interactions


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