How does a lottery win change people?

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Multicoloured lottery or bingo balls

A new study has revealed that a lottery win makes people less compassionate, less egalitarian, and more right-wing. They found that the changes were consistent and happened almost overnight.

So how does a win change people?

The work by the University of Warwick in the UK and the University of Melbourne in Australia found that people didn't have to win very much money at all in order to change. The study looked at 4,000 winners in the UK Australia who won less than £200,000 - the vast majority of them won less than £500.

After the win, a fifth of them changed their political allegiances - and became more right-wing. The more people won, the more right-wing they became - overnight.

How else do they change?

It's not the first piece of research that looks at how lottery winners change. In 2012 a paper found that the wealthier people become, the less compassionate they are.

It doesn't make them happy either. A 1994 study looked at lottery winners and accident victims, and found that although a sudden stroke of good or bad luck would have a dramatic short-term effect on happiness, over the medium-term, the people involved reverted to being exactly as happy as they were before the event.

A 2002 study found that because many of them give up their jobs and move to a bigger hours, they lose touch with friends. Meanwhile they are more likely to row with family over money. Perhaps it's not surprising then that lottery winners are more likely than average to be depressed.

Why?

All this change comes despite the fact that a Swedish study found that the majority of those who win the lottery don't want to change their life - they want the same life but with more money.

Part of the issue may be that people may not have the freedom to live life as they want when they have the added pressure of a win. One striking example was Adrian Bayford, who won £148 million on the lottery in 2012, and said he wanted to continue running his music shop as he loved the work. Last January he was forced to shut the shop as people were overwhelmingly using it to contact him and ask for money. By November he and his wife announced they were getting divorced.

But what do you think? Would a lottery win change you?