Fast Company

More Than Money

Researchers at Emory University have determined that people who win or inherit large amounts of money experience less satisfaction than those who earn rewards through hard work.

Participants in the study were asked to play an interactive game in which they either actively claimed prizes -- or were given them. Those who had to take action to earn the rewards showed more brain activity representing the value of the reward, as well as the pleasure of receiving it.

Clearly, financial reward can be a major motivator. But it's also true that incentives such as dignity and purpose can also inspire people to perform at higher levels. In fact, even cashing in can lead some people to seek new ways to succeed.

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2 Comments

  • Joseph Parker

    I have to comment that, when pespiration is evident, satisfaction is inevitable. It is 'what' you have, it has all to do with 'how' you got it.

  • Chris

    The one issue that doesn't truly seem to be addressed by the study is that of identity. Practically overnight, your identity changes from someone with "relatively enough" money to someone with more money than they ever know what to do with. How do you quickly construct a new identity that is consistent with your core values? Regardless of what we might want to believe, multimillions in the bank does tend to change aspects of who we are. But, I think for most of us, its a question we'd like to personally solve and see for ourselves.