The complex of the rich: how money can ruin lives

Money is a bad influence on the ability to empathize with other people. To such conclusion the Professor of psychology Michael Varnum from the University of Arizona, which is now in its third year studying the impact of social status on human behavior in society. In 2015 he first took up the hypothesis of interrelation of the capital and human capacity for empathy. Scientist got some volunteers and asked them to complete questionnaires to identify social class (parental education, family income, etc.) and undergo a complex visual test that involves many hours viewing images from the connected EEG. During the test participants in the experiment from time to time was distracting flickering on a nearby screen pictures of people with grimaces of pain, and the device recorded the reactions of the subject’s brain to these images.

Just Varnum spent five phases of this study, interviewing a total of 1376 respondents. It turned out that people with high income showed a weaker neural response to pain of other people. In addition, it was found that affluent respondents are less attentive to others and more focused on themselves. This is due to the reduced ability to control mu rhythms of the brain — it is responsible for the ability to switch attention to external objects. The same feature is observed, for example, in patients with autism. “The degree to which our cognitive system can tune in to other people depends on our social class,” summed up their research scientist.

In October 2016, a team of researchers from new York University continued the work of Varnum, putting three of the experiment. For the first, they recruited more than 60 volunteers random from the streets of new York and have equipped them glasses Google Glass fixing micromotion of the pupils. According to the results of the experiment revealed that people with higher levels of wellbeing less likely to detain look at the strangers. In the second experiment, was attended by 77 people, which was also observed in glasses Google Glass for random people, but not in reality, but on the monitors. In the third experience in front of 397 selected network participants exhibited a series of images consisting of faces and objects. After some time, one or more images were substituted, and the respondents had to determine which. The results of all three experiments confirmed the findings of Varnum: people with lower level of well-being were the most attentive.

Poor millionaires

Scientists still disagree about what caused the reduced social sensitivity to the wealthy. Researcher of laboratory of social and economic psychology of the RAS Tatiana Drobysheva believes that Varnum allow for a serious generalization, and to link low empathy with one’s wealth at least incorrect. “Everyone is a too complicated mechanism. His sensitivity and ability to empathize are also dependent on emotional and social intelligence”, — says the psychologist. Drobysheva noted that lack of empathy may be associated with, for example, lack of maternal care in childhood where children are emotionally poorer.

Independent financial adviser, associate Professor of Finance University of Saida Suleymanova, in turn, agrees with the findings of American scientists. “Rich people tend to evaluate everything from the point of view of rationality and efficiency. He might be considered pastime, non-profit, something that is insignificant,” — said Suleymanov. In her opinion, if people prefer cash to capital, not social or spiritual, is expressed in a specific attitude towards others.

Chairman of Supervisory Board GK “ALOR” Anatoly Gavrilenko, in turn, is convinced that money cannot be the root cause of indifference towards others. Welfare just allows people to ignore the feelings of others, if they wish. But this situation Gavrilenko considers the exception. For a person who wants to earn a lot of money, attention to the other person — one of the main conditions, he says. “To earn, you need to communicate. Sometimes this communication forced,” — says the financier. Gavrilenko, however, adds that the growth of the welfare circle is gradually narrowing. But he explains it by the peculiarities of the maturation of the individual. “Older people often become isolated in their friends. This is typical of human nature,” says the financier.

What is the danger

In the future, reduced empathy and confidence in its exclusivity could lead, ironically, to loss of money, according to experts interviewed . Too cocky trader or a businessman is mistaken often on the order than his more self-deprecating a competitor, says Executive Director of the management company Finex Plus LLC Vladimir Kreindel. According to him, this feature of the psyche can and should be overcome. To do this, the investor has two tools: the awareness and self-restraint. He needs to realize his tendency to the overestimation of their own forces and try to limit the ambitions of, for example, by going to passive or index investing. “Any investment is an attempt to predict the future. The transition to passive management is the acceptance of the unpredictability of the future market”, — notes Krandel.

Analyst Jonathan Horlacher from Credit Suisse in its review, investors have formulated a few simple rules that can help the financier to overcome overconfidence when making important investment decisions. In particular, he advises not to rely on the analysts to focus on long-term strategy, develop a list of potential risks for each transaction, to avoid bubbles in the stock market and to select assets with minimal losses, but not with high growth potential.

General Director of “Personal Advisor” Natalia Smirnova believes that wealthy people will not be able to refuse risky strategies because they generate the most revenue. However, it needs to think about how to protect their savings. For this it is necessary to isolate from its portfolio share of money which you can safely lose, and use risky strategies only. This amount can be spent on any project risks without jeopardizing the welfare of his family. In turn, the private psychologist Paul Volgenau sees the beginning of the development of a trusting relationship with colleagues and delegate authority. For this the investor or entrepreneur you need to get a reliable team, he sums up.