Do people from the upper social classes engage in less prosocial behavior than their lower social class counterparts? For example, do upper class people donate a smaller portion of their income to charity, and are they generally less helpful?
Previous psychological studies have actually found that because lower social class individuals are in difficult circumstances themselves, they are more concerned with the welfare of other persons than higher class individuals are. Martin Korndörfer, Stefan Schmukle, and Boris Egloff recently conducted a study using large representative data sets with up to 37,000 participants.
Their study, recently published in PLOS ONE (http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0133193), did not support these results but instead found the opposite effect in the majority of their analyses. The researchers from the University of Leipzig and the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz examined international data from large surveys such as the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
The people who responded to these surveys reported their income, education, and job prestige and provided information about several prosocial behaviors such as donating, volunteering, and helping in everyday situations (e.g., allowing a stranger to go ahead of them in line).
The research team’s analyses brought to light an unexpected result: Compared with lower social class individuals, higher social class individuals were more charitable, helpful, generous, and trusting. For example, in a digital real-pay economic game that was designed to measure participants’ trust behavior, individuals from the higher social realms gave more to an assigned stranger than individuals from the lower social realms.
Interestingly, this main result was predominantly independent of country (Germany, the United States, or one of 28 other countries) and the measure of social class (income, education, job prestige, or subjective social standing).
"These findings are especially important in the context of growing social disparities. They show that individuals from the middle and upper social classes seem to take on the social responsibilities that are ascribed to them to a higher degree than one would expect on the basis of previous psychological studies,” says Martin Korndörfer. The authors attribute this difference in findings to the previously common use of small samples that primarily consisted of American students who simply did not vary in social class.
"Ultimately, higher social class individuals might not always be more (or less) prosocial than people from lower social classes—there are differences that depend on the observed prosocial behavior and important circumstances that have yet to be determined. What we do know for sure is that the statement alleged by many psychologists—that the upper class is generally less helpful—is presumably not true," summarizes Martin Korndörfer.
Martin Korndörfer, Boris Egloff, Stefan C. Schmukle
Dr. Martin Korndörfer
Susann Huster | Universität Leipzig
Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College
Sustainable Development Goals lead to lower population growth
30.11.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences
07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences