Is our attitude to money like that to any other tool even though its use is symbolic and is not implemented in its physical structure? Knowledge of the functional use of concrete tools, such as hammers or screwdrivers, has been associated with activation of a left hemisphere network including the posterior temporal cortex, supramarginal gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, and lateral precuneus. Here we demonstrate that observing bank notes being cut up or torn, a critical violation of their function, elicits activation within the same temporo-parietal network. Moreover, this activation is the greater the higher the value of the banknote. This lends plausibility to a genuinely psychological interpretation of the explanation of money as a tool for parametrically symbolizing exchange.
Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology and Economics, 2011, Vol 4, Issue 1, p. 1-10