Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sorry Babies, Rich People Will Take Your Candy

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Bloomberg is reporting on a new study that indicates the wealthy are more likely to engage in unethical behaviors—including lying, cheating and even taking candy from babies.

From the article:

One experiment invited 195 adults recruited using Craigslist to play a game in which a computer “rolled dice” for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate. The numbers each participant rolled were the same; anyone self reporting a total higher than 12 was lying about their score. Those in wealthier classes were found to be more likely to fib, Piff [Paul Piff, a Ph.D. candidate in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a study author] said.

The study involved seven experiments overall. One of them sought to determine how the quality of a driver's car related to his/her compliance with traffic laws. It found that drivers with higher-status cars were more likely to cut off other drivers or not yield when pedestrians crossed the road.

Perhaps the most standout experiment tested how the wealthy and the poor would react when given a jar of individually wrapped candy that was intended for children in a nearby lab. They were told they could take some if they desired; the wealthy in the study took more candy than the poor.

Again, from the article:

Poorer participants may be less likely to cheat because they must rely more on their community to get by, and thus are more likely to adhere to community standards, Piff said. By comparison, “upper-class individuals are more self-focused, they privilege themselves over others, and they engage in self-interested patterns of behavior,” he said.

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