Sometimes people rely on their powers of observation and evaluating their social interactions, while others need an official study to prove what they already sensed was true: extreme wealth makes people self-absorbed, unethical, petty and out of touch with others and the world around them.
A collection of psychological tests administered under the auspices of U.C. Berkeley demonstrate while San Francisco a.k.a Silicon Valley has become a much less friendly place in the past few decades, according to Uniongazette. Paul Piff, assistant professor in the Office of Psychology and Social Conduct at UC Irvine (he was recently at Berkeley) discussed conclusions from his decade long series of 50 psychological tests of the uber rich versus those trying to get by. He found that rich people are more likely to behave unethically or at least admit they identify with people who behave unethically for even meager profit. They are more likely to take candy designated for children, cut pedestrians off and cheat at games, according to the study.
Piff said, “I imagine what we’re evaluating in these scientific tests is a basic absence of sensitivity to the wants of other individuals. The wealthier you are, the much less attuned you are to other people about you.”
One reason may be that rich people have to rely on others less and therefore are more “cut off” from other people. One disturbing point not made in the study is perhaps this lack of sensitivity and concern for rules of society are responsible for compulsively stockpiling ill-gotten gains and may not be the result of an ordinary brain drugged into insensitivity by the sudden addition of massive wealth.