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
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
Geographers provide new insight into commuter megaregions of the US
01.12.2016 | Dartmouth College
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Machine Engineering
17.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering