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Title: The psychological effects of money : objectification, outcome maximization, and agency
Author: Wang, Xijing
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 3176
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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As one of the greatest inventions, money has brought profound changes and convenience to economic trading. However, when it comes to interpersonal relationships, money could have a dark underbelly. A growing number of empirical studies have convergingly revealed that money results in unethicality. The aim of this dissertation was to uncover the underneath social cognitive mechanism. In particular, it was proposed that objectification and more broadly outcome maximization were the driving force. Indeed, in the first set of experiments (Exp. 1-5), it was found that love of money led to objectification. In particular, people with a motivation towards money, either demonstrated via their monetary attitudes or temporarily activated by an experimental manipulation, tended to view and treat social targets as tools for their goal attainment (Exp. 1-2), Meanwhile, they denied the mind of irrelevant others, including human, anthropomorphic objects, and animals (Exp. 3-5). In the second set of experiments (exp. 6-11), it was further demonstrated that people’s behaviours were guided by the principle of outcome maximization in economic games in which money, rather than candy (control condition), acted as the mode of exchange. Specifically, participants’ decision-making was less affected by the emotions of their counterplayers when such information was irrelevant to maximizing their gain (Exp. 6-9). Instead, they showed an increased level of strategic consideration, and this effect was due to their motive to maximize their outcome (Exp. 10 and 11). In the final set of experiments (Exp. 12-14), the link between money and agency was demonstrated. As such, assigning economic value to robots shaped the agency (but not experience) people perceived in these targets (Exp. 12 and 13), which unfortunately did not grant them moral rights (Exp. 14). These findings made significant contributions to the money literature both in terms of the empirical findings and the paradigms employed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available