Feeds

Rich people cannot feel pain, don't care if they're liked

And being skint makes you a crybaby, say profs

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Being rich makes people invulnerable to pain and steels them against rejection by other people, according to trick-cyclists and whalesong specialists in China and America.

In order to discover this, a group of student recruits at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou were split up into two groups. One was given a sheaf of crisp banknotes to count, the other ordinary dull bits of paper. After this, all of them were forced to plunge their extremities into scalding 50°C water.

Those who had counted money beforehand, apparently, felt less pain than the others. And it doesn't stop there. Crafty psych prof Xinyue Zhou also devised a devilish method of inflicting social rejection on his test subjects, by making them play an online multiplayer game in which a ball was thrown around among a group of players.

Zhou rigged the game, however, so that after a cheery and inclusive period of tossing the cyber ball about, test subjects would then suddenly find that nobody would throw it to them any more - a crushing playground-outcast style experience.

Once again, though, it emerged that those who had fondled a pile of reassuring cash money prior to copping a cyber cold-shouldering laughed the rejection off. Those who hadn't, however, were left blubbing in the corner.

Zhou and his collaborators - Florida trick-cyclist Roy Baumeister and Minneapolis marketing prof Kathleen Vohs - then tried the same tortures on people they had made to feel poor, rather than rich. They accomplished the feeling of poverty by getting half their group to write about all the bills they'd paid lately, while the others wrote about the weather.

It appears that the skint-feeling students suffered more pain on being scalded, and coped poorly when frozen out of the networked catch games.

So there you have it: being (or feeling) rich means you care nothing for the opinions of others, and also makes you invulnerable to torture. Being/feeling poor turns you into a grizzling crybaby. According to the study authors, that is.

The research paper in question can be read (by paying subscribers of the relevant journal) here. Astute readers will note that it was actually published months ago, and wonder why the media is suddenly interested in it.

The reason is that a paid webservice billing itself as an "expert guide to the most important advances in medicine" has issued a press release about it, offering this as an example of its own brilliance in keeping its subscribers bang up to date. Those who want their medical news four and a half months late should definitely sign up. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
Human spacecraft dodge COMET CHUNKS pelting off Mars
Odyssey orbiter yet to report, though - comet's trailing trash poses new threat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.