Hello cash, goodbye imaginary friends : the moderating effect of money on social loneliness in anthropomorphism
Yee, Zhi Wei
Date of Issue2016-04-16
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Humans are social beings with a strong desire to maintain relationships with others. Past studies have found that lonely individuals may anthropomorphise in order to restore a sense of human connection. Anthropomorphism refers to attributing uniquely human-like physical features and mental states to non-human agents. A separate area of research has also revealed that money induces feelings of self-sufficiency, thereby causing people to distance themselves from others and act independently to achieve personal goals. In light of a lack of scientific research merging the two bodies of literature, the present study is the first to investigate how reminders of money may moderate the effect of social loneliness on anthropomorphism. Participants (n = 160) were undergraduates from Nanyang Technological University. It was hypothesised that in absence of money primes, socially excluded participants would anthropomorphise more than those who were socially included. In addition, it was hypothesised that the effect of social loneliness on anthropomorphism was weaker for participants who were primed with money as compared to those who received a neutral prime. In other words, we were examining the moderating role of money in the link between social loneliness and anthropomorphism. Results from this experiment supported both hypotheses. Implications of the findings, limitations of the current study, and future research directions were discussed.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University