Summary of Does Money Make You Mean?

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Social psychologist Paul Piff explains how wealth affects relationships and makes the affluent, well, mean. But there is hope for humanizing the elite: The smallest interventions, such as reminding them of the less fortunate, boost egalitarianism. getAbstract recommends this popular TED Talk to anyone affected by economic inequality – in other words, everyone.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How wealth affects attitudes and behavior,
  • What consequences economic inequality has for society, and
  • What “psychological interventions” and other small changes can increase compassion and egalitarianism.
 

About the Speaker

Paul Piff is a social psychologist and researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.

 

Summary

How do status and wealth affect attitudes and behavior? Researchers conducted a series of studies with thousands of participants to answer this question. In one study, subjects played a rigged game of Monopoly. Even though the winners knew they enjoyed several advantages, they described their success as “earned.” Moreover, the more money they won, the ruder and less empathetic they became toward their opponents.

Similarly, in the hierarchical structure of society, some people enjoy advantages. As their wealth grows, their compassion and empathy decline while their sense of entitlement and self-interest builds. The wealthy are more likely than the poor...


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