Problem: Popularity and money are two of the main ways we satisfy ourselves. And while friends come and go, a bathtub full of money is forever. So when people are excluded socially, we often turn to money, spending it in strategic ways to become included, stressing about spending, and becoming generally miserly, perhaps thinking of the coins as treasured friends.
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Researchers in Hong Kong took this one step further, positing that people cut out from a group may become loose cannons, willing to take bigger financial risks in hopes of a bigger payout
Methodology: Fifty-nine University of Hong Kong undergrads participated in an online ball-throwing exercise designed to make them feel either included or excluded, then were asked to choose between two lottery options: one with an 80 percent chance of winning $200 and one with a 20 percent chance of winning $800.
Two other, similar experiments using essays to manipulate feelings were designed to rule out low self-esteem and general crankiness as motivations for risk-taking. In another experiment, researchers had some participants read a report that claimed people often mistakenly believe money brings more freedom and control to their lives before participating in an investment exercise.