UQ study finds that thinking too much about being rich can send you broke

People who believed in manifesting financial success were more likely to make risky investments and end up bankrupt, according to the University of Queensland.

Sep 20, 2023, updated Sep 20, 2023
Manifesting wealth could send you broke (file photo)

Manifesting wealth could send you broke (file photo)

Researchers Dr Lucas Dixon from UQ’s Business School led a project creating a ‘manifestation scale’ to explore the psychology behind the concept of achieving success through aspirational thinking.

“The business world is filled with self-described experts, gurus, and influencers who promise success through manifestation, but many of these beliefs and practices lack solid evidence,” Dixon said.

“Although manifesters felt more confident and optimistic about achieving success, we didn’t find objective proof to support the effectiveness of manifestation.”

In three studies with a total of 1023 participants, the UQ team found one-third endorsed manifestation beliefs.

“Those who scored higher on our manifestation scale perceived themselves as more successful, had stronger aspirations for success, and believed they were more likely to achieve future success,” Dixon said.

“But they were also more likely to be drawn to risky investments, have experienced bankruptcy, and dangerously believed they could achieve an unlikely level of success more quickly.”

Co-author, Associate Professor Nicole Hartley feared manifestation could leave people with unrealistic expectations that led to volatile investments, such as get-rich-quick schemes and cryptocurrency, and possible bankruptcy.

“Typically, we found manifesters maintained their optimism even when their current financial situation was poor,” Dr Hartley said.

“Those with a stronger manifestation belief were also more likely to believe they could get rich quickly, and hence may not see the pitfalls of get-rich-quick schemes or the unlikelihood of financial reward from these schemes.

“We’d encourage more research into the so-called manifestation influencers who promise success in high-stakes areas like career and financial decision-making.”

The research is published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

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