Psychologists have long believed that money, or lack thereof, is often a cause of intemperate behaviour—think retail binges and all sorts of gambling. But a new study, reported in Science magazine, has found that women and men are differently influenced by money, although both sexes succumb to irrational impulses and thoughts by cold, hard cash.
According to the study, published in the Social Indicators Research journal, UK-based researchers surveyed over 100,000 individuals to screen for four emotive associations that people usually make with money: security, power, love and freedom. After analysing the responses, the researchers found that women were twice as likely as men to associate cash with feelings of generosity, etc (money representing love or emotional regulation) while men commensurately associated money with autonomy (as an instrument of power or freedom). Men were also more likely to be hoarders of cash than women who, as per the study, were more prone to “retail therapy”. While psychologists acknowledge that ‘money’ neurosis happens to be the most common among all neuroses worldwide, the new study highlights how differently this can affect men and women. The researchers say, irrespective of gender, it is very hard to cultivate a certain sense of detachment from cash. But, recognising how we fall prey to “money pathologies”, as defined by the researchers, could perhaps help us manage our finances more prudently.