Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Having less, giving more?

10.08.2015

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

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133193

More information:

Dr. Martin Korndörfer
E-Mail: martin.korndoerfer@uni-leipzig.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.013319

Susann Huster | Universität Leipzig
Further information:
http://www.uni-leipzig.de

Further reports about: analyses individuals prosocial social classes upper class

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>