A new report says that rich people may not require friends because money can reduce their feelings of pain, and negate their needs for social popularity.
Published by f1000 Medicine in the journal Psychological Science, the paper sheds light on six studies that tested relationships between reminders of money, social exclusion and physical pain.
Harriet de Wit, Faculty Member for f1000 Medicine, said: "This research extends our understanding of relationships between social pain and physical pain, and remarkably, shows how acquired symbolic value of money, perhaps because of associations with power or control, can influence responses to both emotional and physical pain."
She further noted: "These findings have great importance for a social system such as ours that is characterized by wide disparities in financial well-being."
The study helped researchers Xinyue Zhou, Kathleen Vohs, and Roy Baumeister determine that interpersonal rejection and physical pain cause desire for money to increase.
They said: "Money can possibly substitute for social acceptance in conferring the ability to obtain benefits from the social system. Moreover, past work has suggested that responses to physical pain and social distress share common underlying mechanisms."
The authors said: "Handling money (compared with handling paper) reduced distress over social exclusion and diminished the physical pain of immersion in hot water. Being reminded of having spent money, however, intensified both social distress and physical pain."