New research finds that a person's generosity is directly linked to their own economic status — but not in the way you might think.
Psychologist Paul Piff, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, has studied the effects of wealth on interpersonal relationships for years. Last year, he conducted a study that found that the wealthier a person is, the more likely that person is to cheat, to break the law while driving, and even to take candy from children.
In his latest study, Piff looked at how the level of one's wealth affected generosity. Surprisingly, he found that the more money a person had, the less likely he was to give to another person in need. For the study, Piff and his colleagues rigged a game of Monopoly, giving one player more money at the start, more money throughout the game, and more opportunities to advance than their opponent. The results? Not pretty. The rich players in the rigged game became rude, demanding, and exhibited a sense of entitlement for their fortune.
"As a person's level of wealth increases, their feelings of compassion and empathy go down and their feelings of entitlement ... and their ideology of self-interests increases," notes Piff in this TED talk about this particular study and others he has conducted on wealth and social responsibility.
"The results often don't paint a pretty picture about the motivating forces of wealth," writes Piff. "Specifically, I have been finding that increased wealth and status in society lead to increased self-focus and, in turn, decreased compassion, altruism and ethical behavior."
Does money make you act Grinchy? Check out the talk and decide for yourself.
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