Upper classes “more likely to lie and cheat”
Members of the upper classes are more likely to lie, cheat and even break the law than people from less privileged backgrounds, a study has found.
In contrast, members of the “lower” classes appeared more likely to display the traditional attributes of a gentleman.
It suggests that the traditional notion of the upper class “cad” or “bounder” could have a scientific basis.
But psychologists at the University of California in Berkeley, who carried out the study, also suggested that the findings could help explain the origins of the banking crisis – with self-confident, wealthy bankers more likely to indulge in reckless behaviour.
The team lead by Dr Paul Piff, asked several groups of people from different social backgrounds to perform a series of tasks designed to identify different traits such as honesty and consideration for others.
Each person was asked a series of questions about their wealth, schooling, social background, religious persuasions and attitudes to money in an attempt to put them into different classes.
The tasks included asking participants to pretend to be an employers conducting a job interview to test whether they would lie or sidestep awkward facts in pay negotiation.
They were told that the job might become redundant within six months but were encouraged conceal this from the interview candidate.
There was also an online game involving rolling dice in which participants they were asked to report their own score, thinking they would be in line for a cash prize for a higher score – and that no one was checking.
Members of another group were given a series of made-up scenarios in which people spoke about doing something unethical at work to benefit themselves and then questioned to assess how likely they were to do likewise.
The scientists also carried out a series of observations at a traffic junction in San Francisco.
Different drivers’ social status was assessed on the basis of what car they were driving as well as visible details such as their age.
Those deemed to be better off appeared more likely to cut up other drivers and less likely to stop for pedestrians.
Overall the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that those from richer or powerful backgrounds appeared greedier, more likely to lie in negotiation and more likely to cheat.
well no shit sherlock?
preaching to the converted here..the seed of cain? :)
they will lie and cheat because they rule us..and “its the right thing to do”..we even had a leader last week say its ok to lie if its in the economc interest..they lie to us..get that in your heads..your government does not work for you..you work for them..