Feeds

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

And being skint makes you a crybaby, say profs

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Fancy joining Reg hack on quid-a-day challenge?
Recruiting now for charity starvation diet
Red-faced LOHAN team 'fesses up in blown SPEARS fuse fiasco
Standing in the corner, big pointy 'D' hats
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.