Poster Title

Does perceived wealth inequality influence people's attitudes toward being greedy?

Presenter Information

Kendall BrownFollow

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Sophomore

Institution

University of Kentucky

KY House District #

CD 6

KY Senate District #

CD 6

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Title: Does perceived wealth inequality influence people’s attitudes toward being greedy?

Wealth inequality is growing both nationally and internationally. Broadly speaking, wealth inequality is the gap in wealth between the rich and the poor. In the U.S., this gap in wealth is currently the highest since the Great Depression. The current research investigates the psychological impact wealth inequality may have on individuals’ attitudes and behaviors. Previous research has demonstrated that being or perceiving oneself to be rich can result in anti-social behaviors, such as being greedy (Piff et al., 2010; Piff et al., 2012; Stellar et al., 2012; Trautmann et al., 2013). The current research seeks to investigate whether the distribution of wealth – whether it be equal or unequal – may also lead to such anti-social behaviors. In particular, we hypothesize that high inequality may lead to extreme upward social comparisons, which in turn may make people greedier than when they are in situations of low inequality. To begin testing our hypothesis, we administered a between-subjects experimental design on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. We developed two pie charts ostensibly demonstrating the level of inequality (equality) in the respondent’s state of residence. The participants were asked the extent to which they endorsed items related to being greedy (eg., To be successful, it’s important to look out for yourself.). Finally, we collected demographic measures (e.g., age, political affiliation, socioeconomic status, gender, etc.). With these findings, we hope to provide a much-needed understanding of the psychological processes behind people’s willingness to prioritize present benefits over future consequences in situations of high (vs. low) inequality.

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Does perceived wealth inequality influence people's attitudes toward being greedy?

Title: Does perceived wealth inequality influence people’s attitudes toward being greedy?

Wealth inequality is growing both nationally and internationally. Broadly speaking, wealth inequality is the gap in wealth between the rich and the poor. In the U.S., this gap in wealth is currently the highest since the Great Depression. The current research investigates the psychological impact wealth inequality may have on individuals’ attitudes and behaviors. Previous research has demonstrated that being or perceiving oneself to be rich can result in anti-social behaviors, such as being greedy (Piff et al., 2010; Piff et al., 2012; Stellar et al., 2012; Trautmann et al., 2013). The current research seeks to investigate whether the distribution of wealth – whether it be equal or unequal – may also lead to such anti-social behaviors. In particular, we hypothesize that high inequality may lead to extreme upward social comparisons, which in turn may make people greedier than when they are in situations of low inequality. To begin testing our hypothesis, we administered a between-subjects experimental design on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. We developed two pie charts ostensibly demonstrating the level of inequality (equality) in the respondent’s state of residence. The participants were asked the extent to which they endorsed items related to being greedy (eg., To be successful, it’s important to look out for yourself.). Finally, we collected demographic measures (e.g., age, political affiliation, socioeconomic status, gender, etc.). With these findings, we hope to provide a much-needed understanding of the psychological processes behind people’s willingness to prioritize present benefits over future consequences in situations of high (vs. low) inequality.