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Higher social class linked to lying, cheating and stealing

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posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 07:53 AM
I'm placing this in the "General Conspiracies" forum as I believe that the findings tie in to the potential root cause of many political and economic situations discussed as conspiratorial.

ScienceNOW article

Actual study.

Tied with the findings that people in positions of power are more likely to display psychopathic behavior, this, to me, explains the political situation the world over.

Let's face it, the vast majority of people in politics spew blatant lies without batting an eye, live off of kickbacks, and don't think twice about sending young people off to die killing other young people in a far off land... this may help explain why.


Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals.
In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals.
In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.
*bold mine

The study pretty much speaks for itself, so I'll add interesting ATS discussions to the "psychopathic" aspect mentioned earlier:
Sankes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work (by LadySkadi)
Are we ruled by psychopaths? (by jlv70)

Enjoy and discuss.

the Billmeister

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 08:11 AM

In the beginning of Chuck Klosterman's last book he quotes an unnamed Bush administration official saying something along the lines of this:
The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernable reality.” I nodded and murmured something about Enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create reality. And while you are studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors … and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

I think money and power and greed goes their heads...badly for the rest of us too I might add

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 08:15 AM
reply to post by Billmeister

LOL...great study. I'm pretty sure somebody will come along and say that the study isn't done right ...bla...bla..bla.

Anyway...I completely agree...and let me cite...hmmm...somebody..."opportunity makes a thief", and I really do believe that. The more powerful you are, less likely you will get punished for doing something wrong.

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 08:22 AM
It's simple, really.

Those who have anything they want whenever they want don't care because of that very fact. Why care or worry when you can buy the world over ten times and do it again countless more times?

Those who struggle know the value of a dollar and understand how it is to work your butt off and barely get by. We have more empathy for that reason. What we lack in instant monetary gratification, we make up for by caring, sharing, giving, helping, praying, spreading word for others to help, fundraisers, etc.

That is the difference between the haves and the have nots.
And the have nots are far more rich in love, kindness and understanding than the haves.
I'd rather have my love, etc for others, my empathy, my Self than have all the riches of the world.

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 08:31 AM
reply to post by sarra1833

I don't agree with your sentiment at all. The have nots would sabotage their own family just to keep them from doing good for themselves. The bottom is where you see some of the worst transferrence of anger, a horrible trait where people take out their inadequacies on others.

And so much for "knowing the value of a dollar" "good work ethic" and the like. Too many people on the bottom are lazy, or just mope around in their depression unmotivated to do anything with themselves.

As the one quote said, the people at the top are creating the reality. The people on the bottom are following it. Which means your actions are no different than your leaders. People like to spout moral superiority at the bottom, but they are no different than the people who run this world. They just tell themselves different lies for the same result -a good nights sleep.

/end rant.

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 08:31 AM
Here is an interesting section of the study which sheds some light on the "lack of empathy" which is a primary observation among those diagnosed as psychopaths...

Again, the absolutely crucial correlation here, is that these are the people whose names are placed on those ballots we get to place an "X" next to every 4 years or so.

In a final experiment, the researchers took their hypothesis to the streets. At a busy intersection in the San Francisco Bay area, the team stationed "pedestrians" at crosswalks, with instructions to approach the crossing at a point when oncoming drivers would have a chance to stop. Observers coded the status of the cars' drivers based on the vehicles' age, make, and appearance. Drivers of shiny, expensive cars were three times more likely than those of old clunkers to plow through a crosswalk, failing to yield to pedestrians as required by California state law. High-status motorists were also four times more likely than those with cheaper, older cars to cut off other drivers at a four-way stop.

the Billmeister

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 08:33 AM
reply to post by Billmeister

The people in these ''higher'' social classes who can genuinely apologize(not just words) to ''lower'' social classes for their misdeeds towards the ''lower'' classes, are people who are just fine. The others however, would feel at home in Nazi Germany.

IMO the ''higher'' social classes should be regarded as handicapped people. They literally have a malfunctioning brain.


just saw your post touching on the lack of empathy. It's not just that. They lack certain neurons inside their brains. So they are factually handicapped.
edit on 29-2-2012 by InfoKartel because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 08:37 AM
reply to post by boncho

Your view was also the initial prediction of the researchers, that people in the lower economic spectrum have more reason to cheat and steal.

Surprisingly, the study shows otherwise.

"It's a great study," says sociologist Adam Galinsky of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who has shown that those with power are more apt to condemn behavior that they themselves engage in. He says that the findings of Piff and colleagues may tap into something more fundamental than class—namely, power. "Unequal power can exist between social classes but also between an employee and boss, a wife and a husband, or two people in a negotiation."

"those with power are more apt to condemn behavior that they themselves engage in"
(Sound like most politicians?)

Piff says the study may shed light on the hotly debated topic of income inequality. "Our findings suggest that if the pursuit of self-interest goes unchecked, it may result in a vicious cycle: self-interest leads people to behave unethically, which raises their status, which leads to more unethical behavior and inequality."

edit on 29-2-2012 by Billmeister because: grammar... sheesh!

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 08:44 AM

Originally posted by InfoKartel
just saw your post touching on the lack of empathy. It's not just that. They lack certain neurons inside their brains. So they are factually handicapped.
edit on 29-2-2012 by InfoKartel because: (no reason given)

I linked the discussions on psychopathy in people of positions of power... they agree with you.

There is an actual physical difference in the size of the amygdala (the part of the brain which is linked to emotional response) among psychopaths. The smaller amygdala is also tied to a larger "reptilian brain" among psychopaths, which may make a lot of David Icke fans happy!

the Billmeister

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 09:10 AM
reply to post by Billmeister

What you are failing to address, and what the study failed to address is the social dynamic in the home. Many parents "on the bottom" treat their children and friends just as a dictator would treat his minions. Many parents are the epitome of world leaders when it comes to their children.

"Do as I say not as I do" mentality.

Emotional and actual blackmail of their children.
Disloyalty of their fellows when it comes to anything that crosses their moral outlook, etc, etc, etc.

How many people do you know that would turn a blind eye to something wrong that didn't concern them, but would speak out against something they believe affected them directly?

How many people would ignore the rule of law because they felt a moral justice in their actions?

Lots would. Lots do. The majority I would surmise. People are no different than their leaders, they just act on a micro scale.

edit on 29-2-2012 by boncho because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 09:20 AM
I figured out a long time ago that the only way to get ahead in this world is to lie, cheat, steal and take advantage of people - nice guys finish last.

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 09:23 AM
reply to post by boncho

I think that the study actually agrees with you. (In part, of course.)

You are correct that it does not take into account your claim that a higher occurrence of "domestic dictatorship" exists in families with a lower income. I am actually curious as to what findings this statement is based on.

However, the study does agree, as you put it, "people are the same as their leaders". In as much as social status appears to be relative, and malleable.

When participants were manipulated into thinking of themselves as belonging to a higher class than they did, the poorer ones, too, began to behave unethically. In one test, subjects were asked to compare themselves with people at the top or the bottom of the social scale (Donald Trump or a homeless person, for example.) They were then permitted to take candies from a jar ostensibly meant for a group of children in a nearby lab. Subjects whose role-playing raised their status in their own eyes took twice as many candies as those who compared themselves to "The Donald," the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Quite interesting wouldn't you say?

the Billmeister

posted on Feb, 29 2012 @ 09:25 AM
It has to do with a narcissistic sense of entitlement.

They honestly believe that because they are "them", they are entitled to whatever they want, regardless of the means to get it. In their belief system, they are extraordinary and special compared to others, and "others" have no problem doing without the things "they" need.

Reminds me of when Barbara Bush said the people in the Superdome during Katrina, would be okay, because they were used to living that way. While she, Barbara Bush who is special, sat unharmed in her mansion that she "deserves and of which she is entitled", of course. That's the mindset.
edit on 2/29/2012 by BellaSabre because: (no reason given)

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