A new study from UC Berkeley suggests that the rich are unusually inclined to lie, cheat, and steal
The rich are more likely to lie, cheat, drive rudely, support unethical behavior at work, and, yes, even “steal candy from a baby,” according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Social psychologist Paul Piff and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley discovered a striking lack of ethics among the wealthy, concluding that people are more likely to steal out of a sense of entitlement than necessity.
Piff and his team conducted several studies. Among them:
- Researchers covertly observed cars at a four-way intersection in San Francisco, drawing conclusions about each driver’s socioeconomic status based on the make and year of the car. People driving nicer, newer cars were twice as likely to illegally cut off other drivers and half as likely to stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
- Study participants played an online dice game where they reported their own score, with $50 at stake. The game was fixed so the score was always 12, but wealthier players routinely claimed scores of 15 or higher.
- In another study, participants were asked to play the role of a boss negotiating with a job seeker. The make-believe job applicant was willing to take less money in exchange for a two-year commitment. But the job had a six-month expiration date, and role-playing managers “could get a bonus for negotiating a low salary,” Keim says. The result? Participants who were wealthy in real life were more likely to lie to a job applicant about the temporary nature of a position to get a higher bonus for themselves.
Full story at The Week.
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