Does Money Make You Mean?

I recently watched a Ted Talk titled “Does Money Make You Mean,” and the result of the studies shared was this: those whose wealth increased showed a decrease in emotions such as empathy and compassion. In short the video focuses on an experiment where two strangers partake in a game of monopoly, and after a random roll of dice one of the players is unknowingly given the upper hand with more money to start with, more money every time they pass Go, and allowed to roll both dices, giving them more opportunity on the board. As the game proceeds there are noticeable differences in the two players. The wealthier player points out how much money they both have, expressed excitement when buying property, boasts about their wealth and even the lack of wealth but also consumes the entire bowl of pretzels laid out for both participants.


Paul Piff, the host of his Ted Talk, then compares this experiment to our modern day society. Do those who have more money have no empathy for others? How does wealth affect an individuals personality? Does it affect personality and character? Why do people strive for such financial wealth and is there a difference in their personality versus those who are content with their financial status? These are just questions I asked myself as I watched this Ted Talk.

This month the Center for Community Action and Research is focusing on Income Inequality with upcoming Common Hour Conversations, Take Action Tabling and Documentary Screenings. Get involved and join the cause by attending an event or responding to this post!


Rachel Aviles.