No. Really. And that isn't the half of it . . .
Paul Piff, a Psychology doctoral candidate at in at the University of California, Berkeley, reported the results of his recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Piff's study on the ethics and ideals was conducted in three separate tests.
Anti-social Behavior Behind the Wheel
About one-third of drivers in high-end cars were observed cutting off other drivers at an intersection, which was a rate about twice that of motorists driving inexpensive cars. Also, half of the drivers in expensive cars failed to yield when a pedestrian entered the crosswalk, while all (100%) of the drivers in the low-end cars allowed the pedestrian cross. A total of 426 vehicles were observed.
Cheating for Money
195 adults were asked to play a game with a $50 gift certificate as the prize for winning. The game involved computerized dice rolls, with the higher numbers winning the certificates. In actuality, all the participants' rolls were the same, and the actual dice roll was monitored and compared to what was reported by the participant. Wealthier participants were considerably more likely to lie and report higher numbers than what was actually rolled, even though the $50 prize amount meant less to them than it did to less wealthy participants.
Helping Yourself to the Kids' Candy
In the candy test, 129 undergraduates were guided to self-identify as either wealthy or poor. They were then presented with a jar of individually wrapped candy, which researchers said would go to children in a nearby lab, though the participants gave permission take some if they wanted. The undergraduates self-identifying as members of the upper-income class took more than those believing themselves to be low income.
Erik Gordon, a business professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, indicates that he wasn’t surprised by the results.
Greed has been on the upswing for 20 years. Wealth or power that comes with high socioeconomic status means you are indeed enabled to ignore other people and might think that rules that apply to other people don’t apply to you.A more succinct way to state this opinion is that 1%ers don't seem to feel the need to adhere to same ethical systems the rest of us adhere to.
And the researcher himself, Paul Piff, pretty much concurs.
. . . as you rise in the ranks – whether as a person or a nonhuman primate – you become more self-focused.Professor Gordon and researcher Piff weren't surprised by this result. And neither was I.