Humans aren’t the most reasonable bunch when it comes to cash. Psychologists think a heavy bankroll (or lack thereof) makes us favor our irrational side—think extravagant retail therapy or high-stakes poker tables. Although men and women both seem to succumb to the madness, money tends to seduce genders in different ways, according to a study published in the September issue of Social Indicators Research. Researchers surveyed more than 100,000 individuals in the United Kingdom about their feelings when it comes to the big bucks. Some questions asked if participants buy things when they feel anxious, bored, or upset, whereas others revolved around guilt, pride, or power in regard to money. There are four main categories that we associate with the content of our bank accounts, the researchers say: security, power, love, and freedom. After analyzing the survey results, psychologists split the difference, showing that females, on average, were about twice as likely to associate cash flow with love and emotion, whereas men were about twice as likely to see money as a sign of power and freedom, though the feelings were not mutually exclusive. The researchers say it’s hard to keep a healthy emotional detachment from the dollars in our pockets, but they hope spotlighting the gender specifics in our infatuation with money will help men and women get a grip on their financial feelings.
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