Let’s have an experiment on the lines the researches did. If you tell some people that they may participate in a test of finger dexterity and give one group a stack of currency to count and thereafter, they may keep with themselves, while another group be given blank pieces of paper. Once the counting is complete, the test subjects be asked to dip their fingers into bowls of water heated to 122 degrees — roughly the temperature of a very hot bath. Result? Those who count money are likely to report less pain than those who are to do with blanks. Subjects can also be surveyed about their feelings during the session. Those who handle actual money would likely to report feeling stronger even 10 minutes after they put down the cash.
Combined with previous experiments, the findings can confirm what researchers have long suspected, that money acts as a general panacea in the brain, giving us social self-confidence when it is lacking and relieving physical pain without having to spend a dime on aspirin. Money can’t buy you love, but apparently, it can hold your hand.
It accomplishes this through a subconscious process called priming, in which our mental or emotional context leading up to an event can affect our perception of it. In this case, the positive association with having and holding money “reduces distress over social exclusion and reduces the physical pain of immersion in hot water.” It may help explain why people are willing to push so long and hard to achieve monetary gains.
Could the results be somehow skewed by cultural or economic differences from place to from? No, it is not so. Money has the same importance for an American as well as for an Indian. Its effect does not have anything with reference to a particular country. People all over the world use money and experience pain; it’s a very basic effect. Even keeping Credit Cards like Visa, MasterCard, AmEx and Discover cards in pocket does not have the same effect as the currency notes do influence you because they are scary for most, and they in fact represent debt in many ways.
The findings could have an interesting trickle-down effect in the business world, where recent trends have been to issue non-monetary rewards and bonuses instead of what was thought of as “cold, hard cash.”
Next time, when you give incentives to your staff, you may give them hard cash instead of depositing the same into their accounts, it may play wonders to increase their productivity. They may please be allowed to touch the money of incentives; they may forget their tiredness.