Like taking candy from a baby

These are an interesting group of studies:

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.

But some parts of the study seem overstated. According to Bloomberg, the participants weren’t always rich or poor. They were divided into a group that was told to pretend to be rich and another group that was told to pretend to be poor:

In the candy test, 129 undergraduates were manipulated to view themselves as 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 could take some if they wanted. The undergraduates believing themselves to be upper income took more than those believing themselves to be low income, the study found.

And the study was conducted by a PhD candidate at the University of California at Berkeley.

I’ve had my problems with the attitudes of the rich during this economic crisis, but in terms of this study, there may be a socioeconomic agenda here.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney won the Michigan primary yesterday. Rick Santorum, who came in second, said Romney was a bully and a cheat during the race.