Current Psychology

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 381–385 | Cite as

Money Doesn’t Stink. Or Does It? The Effect of Immorally Acquiring Money on Its Spending

  • Peter Kardos
  • Emanuele Castano


Building on magical contagion literature, we show that the way in which money is acquired colors the perception of the money itself, and thus affect the way it is spent. In a hypothetical scenario participants who imagined acquiring money immorally (versus morally) experienced more guilt about the way in which they acquired it and spent less of it. Furthermore, in the immoral, but not the moral condition, guilt correlated significantly with spending: the greater the guilt, the less money was spent. We interpret this finding as stemming from individuals’ desire not to handle what they see as “dirty” money.


Money Morality Magical contagion Spending Guilt 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyNew School for Social ResearchNew YorkUSA

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