Learning value of money may make kids less philanthropic

New York, Dec 3 (IANS) Even if your five-year-old kid does not know what money can buy for him or her, the moment he or she gets to know the value of it, chances are the knowledge may make him or her less philanthropic in nature, says an interesting research.

In other words, the act of handling money makes young children work harder and give less.

This effect was observed in children who lacked the concrete knowledge of money’s purpose and persisted despite the denomination of the money.

“Money is a double-edged sword. It produces good outcomes in terms of concentration and effort but bad outcomes when it comes to helping, taking, and donating.” said professor Kathleen Vohs from the University of Minnesota and co-author of the study.

For this, the researchers conducted five experiments and one study involving 550 children (ages three-six) in Poland and the US.

In one experiment, the children were asked to either sort money or buttons before completing a challenging puzzle.

After sorting money or buttons, the pre-schoolers were asked to help the experimenter prepare a task for another child.

The children who had sorted money were less helpful in terms of gathering crayons for the experimenter than those who had first handled buttons.

An additional study tested whether candy might elicit a similar response to money.

After sorting money, buttons or candy, the children were informed that they could take up to six Disney stickers.

All of the children who sorted money took at least three stickers, whereas only 78 percent of children who sorted candies and 76 percent who sorted buttons took as many.

The children were then told they could give some of their stickers to other children who did not participate.

Kids who sorted money prior to receiving their stickers donated half as many stickers compared to kids who sorted buttons or candy.

“Our findings with children as young as three years old suggest potentially significant implications for achievement, generosity, and interpersonal harmony,” added Lan Chaplin, associate professor of marketing at the University of Illinois.

According to Vohs, the results with children mirror patterns from European, Asian and North American adult samples.

The paper is forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science.

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