It is usually said that the rich think only of money. Yet in the face of money, their brains are slower than those of less wealthy people.
|Rich and poor have different brain reactions in front
to the money
As Bill Gates, Roman Abramovich - a Russian entrepreneur among the richest men in the world - and their fellow billionaires, the perception of the value of money is absolutely subjective and diminishes with the wealth of the individual. A team of Cambridge researchers has recently conducted a study on the perception of the usefulness of financial resources coming to discover that the brains of the rich and those of the less wealthy work differently.
Rich & Poor
Philippe Tobler and his colleagues chose 14 students with different financial profiles, and subjected their brains to functional magnetic resonance as they were shown abstract images on a computer screen. Three of these images preceded the photograph of a 20 pence coin (about 50 euro cents), while following the vision of the other three the same coin was shown, however blurred and disturbed.
For a handful of pounds
The volunteers were asked to press a button each time they saw one of the images associated with the light photo of the coin. For each correct answer they would have earned 20 pence. All the volunteers had hundreds of attempts available.
Slower rich (wise)
From the magnetic resonances it emerged that the brain centers linked to the reward mechanism were much more active in the underprivileged students than in the rich ones: the wealthiest took longer to carry out the correct associations between image and money.
According to Tobler, the results of this study completely contradict some economic theories like that of Kahneman and Tversky, according to which even the richest ones can't get enough.
Search without funds
Cambridge researchers are now looking for funds to continue their studies and check to what extent the rich are "insensitive" to money, performing the same test but with much higher rewards.
(News updated April 5, 2007)