Are rich people likely to steal candy from babies? Apparently, yes. In April 10, 2012 piece in Scientific American, there’s a report on two Berkeley psychologists who ran studies on whether and how much our social class determines our feelings about others. The link to the article is below, but the highlight is probably the following statement:

“In order to figure out whether selfishness leads to wealth (rather than vice versa), Piff and his colleagues ran a study where they manipulated people’s class feelings. The researchers asked participants to spend a few minutes comparing themselves either to people better off or worse off than themselves financially. Afterwards, participants were shown a jar of candy and told that they could take home as much as they wanted. They were also told that the leftover candy would be given to children in a nearby laboratory. Those participants who had spent time thinking about how much better off they were compared to others ended up taking significantly more candy for themselves–leaving less behind for the children.”

Those meanies!!!! OK, I’m not sure how much I believe these sorts of conclusions – especially when it’s framed as candy being given “to children in a nearby laboratory”! I mean, maybe the subjects just figured that if the kids were in a laboratory, they were probably being experimented on and didn’t really need candy. But if you’re interested here’s the link:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=how-wealth-reduces-compassion