So says a recent study.
the team found that the reward centers in the human brain respond more strongly when a poor person receives a financial reward than when a rich person does. The surprising thing? This activity pattern holds true even if the brain being looked at is in the rich person’s head, rather than the poor person’s…
“In the experiment, people who started out rich had a stronger reaction to other people getting money than to themselves getting money,” Camerer explains. “In other words, their brains liked it when others got money more than they liked it when they themselves got money.”
I find myself wondering: if this is right, why is it that societies in fact work out the way that they do? There are clearly a huge range of factors that play out in the real world which aren’t present in the experimental setting. Does anyone out there know more about this research?