Science Says: Rich People Are Jerks

By , 17 May 2011

Science Says: Rich People Are Jerks
Science Says: Rich People Are Jerks

In 2009, two University of California psychologists performed a study on the relationship between nonverbal cues and socioeconomic status. To do this, they placed participants in pairs and videotaped them talking as they got to know each other. What they discovered was that the richer person in the pair was more likely to display "disengagement" behaviors, like fidgeting or doodling or playing with a damned pencil while someone was trying to talk to them. The poorer of the two engaged in not being a jerk behaviors, like nodding, and smiling and actually listening to the other person.

Not only could the researchers pick out which conversationalist had the higher socioeconomic background, an entirely separate group of observers could watch the tapes and pick the richies as well. The theory goes that people of a higher socioeconomic status are less dependent on others, due to their wealth and higher education. As such, they aren't as invested in conversing with others, as they have no need for it.

Science Says: Rich People Are Jerks

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Science Says: Rich People Are Jerks

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