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Are the Rich Really Different From You and Me?
Date:2/27/2012

t seems the wealthy are more egocentric and more attuned "to one's own desires and needs in the moment."

But which comes first, wealth or egotistical behavior?

"Hard to say," said the University of British Columbia's Aquino. "There is some evidence that qualities of 'jerkiness' can help people become more financially successful, and probably there are some qualities like aggression, ruthlessness and a lack of empathy that contribute to one's ability to accumulate wealth."

"On the other hand," he added, "people's circumstances can change their thinking." So inner jerkiness, like wealth, might not be forever.

The study was published online Feb. 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More information

For more about ethics, visit Santa Clara University.

SOURCES: Paul K. Piff, graduate student, University of California, Berkeley; Karl Aquino, Ph.D., professor and chair, Organizations and Society, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada; Adam Galinsky, Ph.D., professor of ethics and decision in management, Northwestern University; Feb. 27, 2012, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online


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