MONEY TRAP

Money changes our thinking. The opportunity to make easy money causes a surge of dopamine in a tiny piece of our neural machinery. People get immediate pleasure and pain from obtaining and losing money. A disproportionate desire for money makes one selfish. The unethical ways of making money don’t bother a corrupt mind. It is bad when money starts dominating decisions. Money makes us self-centered, and, therefore, corruptible. People value the money they’ve earned, over the money they're given. More than the money it is relative income that matters. If we have more money we can buy more of our daily utilities, can have better vacations. But money can also bring unhappiness. The experience-stretching hypothesis partly explains the disconnect between money and happiness. Daniel Gilbert describes experience-stretching as “an experience that once brought me pleasure no longer does.” Money allows us to buy the best things in life but it also deprives us of enjoying the mundane joys of everyday life. Money can be a substitute for social acceptance and in reducing social and physical discomforts but it also can take us away from the little pleasures of life. Unfortunately, money can also be a substitute for love. Money can make us happy if it is spent wisely. To buy happiness one needs a relative amount of money. Happiness level depends inversely on the earning levels of a person’s neighbours. It is a relativity trap. There is nothing that is big and small. We make things big and small. Our habit of making things great or small has been with us since the beginning and shall remain till the end. The problem is that we don’t want to accept that we are making comparisons. We make mistakes while making comparisons. We make systematic errors when predicting our future satisfactions. Because of the wrong predictions, we make wrong decisions. Like eyesight and hindsight, foresight can also be blind. Our motivations and efforts are dependent upon the magnitude of expected rewards. The motivation can be unconscious. We may not know what has prompted us to do a certain thing. Neuroscientists are trying to find out the correlation between expected reward and behavioural activation. A group of researchers wanted to know how the human brain energizes behaviour in proportion to subliminal incentives. Money was used as an incentive in the studies. The studies reveal that a key node (specific basal forebrain region) in brain circuitry enables expected rewards to energize behaviour. Interestingly, this doesn’t even need the subjects’ awareness.