Study finds wealthy Americans are more likely to break rules

POSTED: Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 9:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 9:10am

Are wealthy Americans more likely to cut you off while driving?

You bet, according to a new series of studies.

That's not all.

Researchers at UC Berkeley wanted to know how socio-economic factors affect a person's behavior, especially when it comes to making ethical choices.

They surveyed more than 1,000 people of various backgrounds, ranging from lower to upper class.

In one study on driving behavior, upper class drivers were four times more likely to enter a busy four-way stop when it wasn't their turn.

They also were three times more likely to keep the pedal on the gas, instead of stopping for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

You've probably heard the saying about how easy it is to take candy from a baby.

The rich are inclined to do that, too, according to another study in the series.

In the presence of a jar of candy reserved for children, upper class participants weren't shy about grabbing a handful.

The study found they took twice as much candy as other classes.

Members of the upper class are more likely to lie and cheat when gambling, the research found.

For that part of the study, participants played a computerized dice game, and they were told the player with the highest score would receive a cash prize.

Upper class participants were more likely to report higher scores than they actually received, the study revealed.

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