Cold Hard Cash May Be More Than a Metaphor

Engage in a little thought experiment with me. Picture a stack of cash. Imagine yourself counting each crisp bill, one by one. How do you feel? Do you have a slight chill?

A recent study suggests “cold hard cash” is more than a metaphor.

It's not news that money has profound effects on human behavior, many of them negative. Leonie Reutner, a researcher studying social and consumer psychology at the University of Basel in Switzerland, wanted to know if money has an impact on the body itself.

Reutner and a team of researchers from the University of Basel and the University of Salzburg in Austria came up with a simple hypothesis: If money has been connected to socially “cold” behavior, can money cause a physical sensation of coldness?

They set out to test the hypothesis with two studies. In one, participants dipped a hand into a jar filled with about $1300 in banknotes. The control group put a hand into a jar filled with pieces of paper of the same size and color as the banknotes. They then asked the test subjects to estimate the temperature of the room. (To disguise the purpose of the experiment, they also asked them to make some other random estimates, including the size of the room.) Those who dipped their hand in the money jar “gave significantly lower estimates of room temperature,” the researchers write. “Money did not affect any of the other estimates, indicating that priming money had an influence on temperature perception only.”

In the second study, they asked a different set of subjects to submerge their hands for 10 seconds into bowls of water heated to exactly 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and estimate the water’s temperature. As in the first study, participants then dipped their hands into one of two jars, one stuffed with money and the other with similarly sized pieces of paper. Meanwhile, the water in the bowls had cooled to 31.14 degrees Celsius. When participants returned their hands to the cooler water, researchers cranked the heat back up and asked the subjects to say “stop” when it had warmed to its original temperature. People who handled money perceived the original temperature as lower.

“The idea is similar to your body adapting to a frigid temperature outside and then going inside and feeling very hot,” Reutner told the Wall Street Journal. “The colder you are, the warmer the room feels in contrast to your body.”

The researchers claim this chilly feeling is caused by exposure to money“Our findings offer fascinating insights into how money makes people feel,” they write. “While money won’t make anyone’s heart turn to cold stone, it does make the body feel colder.”

The potential link between "cold" social behavior and actual physical coldness may seem a bit simplistic, but "a relatively large number of studies are consistent with these findings,” says Norbert Schwarz, provost professor at the University of Southern California’s Department of Psychology and Marshall School of Business.

The authors cite a series of nine studies from 2006 which found that people “primed” with money by handling or thinking about it performed "independent but socially insensitive actions,” meaning they were more self-reliant but treated others worse. Compared to participants who were not reminded of money, those primed with money were more likely to work and play alone, and less likely to help a person in need or donate to a fundraiser. They also "put more physical distance between themselves and a new acquaintance,” the authors wrote.

Another study replicated these findings in the real world.  People who had just withdrawn money from an ATM were far less likely to help a passerby requesting assistance. In one part of the study, just 60 percent of ATM users alerted a fellow pedestrian that they’d dropped their bus pass. Of those who hadn’t gotten money from the ATM, 96 percent had the courtesy to tell the person they’d lost something. 

Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in May

Netflix is making way for loads of laughs in its library in May, with a handful of original comedy specials (Steve Martin, Martin Short, Carol Burnett, Tig Notaro, and John Mulvaney will all be there), plus the long-awaited return of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Here’s every new movie, TV series, and special making its way to Netflix in May.


27: Gone Too Soon

A Life of Its Own: The Truth About Medical Marijuana


Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1

Beautiful Girls


God's Own Country

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous Live at Radio City

Mr. Woodcock

My Perfect Romance

Pocoyo & Cars

Pocoyo & The Space Circus

Queens of Comedy: Season 1

Reasonable Doubt

Red Dragon

Scream 2


Simon: Season 1

Sliding Doors


The Bourne Ultimatum

The Carter Effect

The Clapper

The Reaping

The Strange Name Movie

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V: Season 2




A Little Help with Carol Burnett


Busted!: Season 1

Dear White People: Volume 2

End Game

Forgive Us Our Debts

Kong: King of the Apes: Season 2


My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Tina Fey

No Estoy Loca

The Rain: Season 1


Faces Places


The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale



Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives


Dirty Girl

MAY 11

Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 3

Evil Genius: the True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Spirit Riding Free: Season 5

The Kissing Booth

The Who Was? Show: Season 1

MAY 13

Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife

MAY 14

The Phantom of the Opera

MAY 15

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 4

Grand Designs: Seasons 13 - 14

Only God Forgives

The Game 365: Seasons 15 - 16

MAY 16


Mamma Mia!

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The Kingdom


MAY 18


Catching Feelings

Inspector Gadget: Season 4

MAY 19

Bridge to Terabithia

Disney’s Scandal: Season 7

Small Town Crime

MAY 20

Some Kind of Beautiful

MAY 21

Señora Acero: Season 4

MAY 22

Mob Psycho 100: Season 1

Shooter: Season 2

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 2

Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here

MAY 23


MAY 24

Fauda: Season 2

Survivors Guide to Prison

MAY 25


Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life

The Toys That Made Us: Season 2

Trollhunters: Part 3

MAY 26

Sara's Notebook

MAY 27

The Break with Michelle Wolf

MAY 29

Disney·Pixar's Coco

MAY 30

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4

MAY 31

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Howard Stern

The First-Ever Troop of Homeless Girl Scouts Just Crushed Their Cookie Sales Goal

Selling 32,500 boxes of cookies in a single week would be noteworthy for any team of Girl Scouts, but it's an especially sweet achievement for Troop 6000: The New York City-based chapter is the first-ever Girl Scout troop composed entirely of children living in homeless shelters.

According to NBC News, this season marked the first time the troop took part in the organization's annual cookie sale tradition. In early April, they received exclusive permission to set up shop inside the Kellogg's Café in Union Square. They kicked off their inaugural stand sale aiming to sell at least 6000 boxes of cookies: At the end of six days, they had sold more than 32,500.

Some customers waited in line an hour to purchase boxes from the history-making young women. Others gave their money directly to the troop, collectively donating over $15,000 to fund trips and activities. After purchasing their cookies, customers could also buy special Girl Scout cookie-inspired menu items from the Kellogg's store, with all proceeds going to Troop 6000.

The troop formed in 2016 as a collaboration between the Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Mayor de Blasio, and the city Department of Homeless Services. Meetings are held in shelters across the city, and many of the troop leaders, often mothers of the scouts, are homeless women themselves. About 40 percent of New York's homeless population are children, and Troop 6000 had to expand last summer to accommodate a flood of new recruits. Today, there are about 300 girls enrolled in the program.

[h/t NBC News]


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