The answer is “Yes”, according Kathleen Vohs, Nicole Mead, and Miranda Goode.
Money has been said to change people’s motivation (mainly for the better) and their behavior toward others (mainly for the worse). The results of nine experiments suggest that money brings about a self-sufficient orientation in which people prefer to be free of dependency and dependents. Reminders of money, relative to non-money reminders, led to reduced requests for help and reduced helpfulness toward others. Relative to participants primed with neutral concepts, participants primed with money preferred to play alone, work alone, and put more physical distance between themselves and a new acquaintance. (The Psychological Consequences of Money)
The following is an extract from a paper co-written by the same three mentioned above :
In one experiment, participants were reminded of money via the Monopoly game method mentioned earlier. Later, the experimenter took the participant across the laboratory ostensibly to perform a task in another room, and at a certain moment when the participant walked by, a confederate (a woman who worked for the laboratory, unbeknownst to participants) also walked by and spilled 27 pencils in front of the participant. Participants who had been strongly reminded of money were less helpful than either set of participants who had been weakly reminded of money (i.e., the low-money and control groups) in that they picked up fewer pencils. In another experiment, participants ﬁrst were reminded of money (or not) via a linguistic puzzle and then met a confused peer (actually another confederate working for the lab). The confused peer asked for help in understanding instructions for a task on which she was working. Participants not reminded of money spent 120% more time helping the confused student than did those who had been reminded of money.
This is the conclusion their research arrived at:
In summary, we found that small reminders of money produced large changes in behavior.
If this is true, then in societies, such as Singapore, where money is on people’s minds 24/7, one could expect the population to be less caring, less helpful towards one another, less dependent but more independent and individualistic. Does our experience prove this to be the case?