Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-559fc8cf4f-sbc4w Total loading time: 0.913 Render date: 2021-03-07T01:00:00.100Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": false, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true }

Money as tool, money as drug: The biological psychology of a strong incentive

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 April 2006

Stephen E. G. Lea
Affiliation:
University of Exeter, School of Psychology, Washington Singer Laboratories, Exeter EX4 4QG, United Kingdom. S.E.G.Lea@exeter.ac.ukhttp://www.exeter.ac.uk/~SEGLeaP.Webley@exeter.ac.ukhttp://www.exeter.ac.uk/~pwebley
Paul Webley
Affiliation:
University of Exeter, School of Psychology, Washington Singer Laboratories, Exeter EX4 4QG, United Kingdom. S.E.G.Lea@exeter.ac.ukhttp://www.exeter.ac.uk/~SEGLeaP.Webley@exeter.ac.ukhttp://www.exeter.ac.uk/~pwebley

Abstract

Why are people interested in money? Specifically, what could be the biological basis for the extraordinary incentive and reinforcing power of money, which seems to be unique to the human species? We identify two ways in which a commodity which is of no biological significance in itself can become a strong motivator. The first is if it is used as a tool, and by a metaphorical extension this is often applied to money: it is used instrumentally, in order to obtain biologically relevant incentives. Second, substances can be strong motivators because they imitate the action of natural incentives but do not produce the fitness gains for which those incentives are instinctively sought. The classic examples of this process are psychoactive drugs, but we argue that the drug concept can also be extended metaphorically to provide an account of money motivation. From a review of theoretical and empirical literature about money, we conclude that (i) there are a number of phenomena that cannot be accounted for by a pure Tool Theory of money motivation; (ii) supplementing Tool Theory with a Drug Theory enables the anomalous phenomena to be explained; and (iii) the human instincts that, according to a Drug Theory, money parasitizes include trading (derived from reciprocal altruism) and object play.

Type
Main Article
Copyright
2006 Cambridge University Press

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 1636 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 7th March 2021. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Money as tool, money as drug: The biological psychology of a strong incentive
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Money as tool, money as drug: The biological psychology of a strong incentive
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Money as tool, money as drug: The biological psychology of a strong incentive
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *