What makes a loser feel better? Thinking about money. An upcoming study in Psychological Science found that people continue to make comparisons until they are happy, but only when they have the cognitive resources to do so.
In the first experiment, winners were unaffected by the actual value of the prize they received, simply winning was satisfying enough. For losers, however, the greater the consolation prize, the more satisfaction they reported. Since making the salient comparison to winners left them unhappy, they were prompted to search for more satisfying standards of comparison (e.g. having this money is better than having no money like I did before the game). In the second experiment this trend was found to be reduced when volunteers were under cognitive load. Losers were no longer sensitive to the absolute value of the prize because they didn’t have the cognitive resources to engage in effortful comparisons.
So there you have it, winners love winning and losers love money.