Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior

(PNAS)   Edited* by Richard E. Nisbett, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, and approved January 26, 2012 (received for review November 8, 2011)


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.


7 Responses to Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior

  • That’s why unions came into existence…Now, the system seems to be reversed…
    It is the union bosses who have corrupted, ■socioeconomic status, ■immoral action,
    ■ethical judgment, and ■self-interest

  • How otherwise could you explain the "upper" class being where they are and the "under" class being where they are? Certainly explains the 1%

  • if you are a ceo or even upper management that make millions a year and could quit and retire and be fine chances are you have done some pretty unethical things to some good hardworking people. The one exception is if you are owner of your own company started from scratch or won the lottery.

  • Conditioning.

    Who defined what constitutes "upper class" and "lower class"?
    So-called "brainwashing" is merely repeating the same lie over and over again. For example, basing a study and subsaquently reporting on "class", whose premise is incorrect yet most accept as valid due to repeated common usage; and by common, I mean primarily mainstream media.

  • @9t9s…. you are mistaken. "Class" has ALWAYS related to the economic class you belong to, and in most cases is not something which can be changed, even if you were to become a multi-millionaire on your own effort, hence the term "nouveau riche." It is generations upon generations of holding the most money and property in your primary geographical area.

  • Why should this suprise anybody?

  • Duh, ‘ya think?

    HERE is something YOU can actually DO about it:

    It’s July 11h, 2012 – Do YOU KNOW what time it is?
    (It’s time to pass H.R. 459, and AUDIT THE ‘FED’!)
    SIGN the PETITION HERE: http://chooseliberty.org/auditrphf3.aspx?pid=0703
    DONATE TO AUDIT THE FED MONEYBOMB HERE: http://www.chooseliberty.org/mailin/audit_donate1_mail.htm?i=CL090077-0703

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