“As a person’s levels of wealth increase, their feelings of compassion and empathy go down, and their feelings of entitlement, of deservingness, and their ideology of self-interest increases,” he says in his talk from TEDxMarin. Through surveys and studies, Piff and his colleagues have found that wealthier individuals are more likely to moralize greed and self-interest as favorable, less likely to be prosocial, and more likely to cheat and break laws if it behooves them.
The swath of evidence Piff has accumulated isn’t meant to incriminate wealthy people. “We all, in our day-to-day, minute-by-minute lives, struggle with these competing motivations of when or if to put our own interests above the interests of other people,” he says. That’s understandable—in fact, it’s a logical outgrowth of the so-called “American dream,” he says. And yet our unprecedented levels of economic inequality are concerning, and since wealth perpetuates self-interest, the gap could continue to widen.
The good news: it doesn’t take all that much to counteract the psychological effects of wealth. “Small nudges in certain directions can restore levels of egalitarianism and empathy,” Piff says. Simply reminding wealthy individuals of the benefits of cooperation or community can prompt them to act just as egalitarian as poor people.
Learn more here http://blog.ted.com/2013/12/20/6-studies-of-money-and-the-mind/