Investment bankers raking in the dough on Wall Street may get a bad rap for being selfish, but a desire to make boatloads of money won't automatically turn you into Scrooge McDuck, according to new research. A study published in the April issue of the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found that many people primarily driven by a desire for wealth are still willing to help someone in need.
Previous research has shown the people are more likely to help others if they aren't in a hurry, and might be less likely to help others if they love money. Yet in a recent experiment with a group of 50 wealth-driven college students in an intro economics course at Loyola University, mostly business majors, 78 percent displayed a willingness to stop and lend assistance to someone in trouble regardless of whether they were in a hurry.
First, the students filled out a questionnaire measuring their religiosity and desire for wealth. Later, they were given one of two passages to read--either one about career paths for economics students or a version of the parable of the Good Samaritan. They were asked to go down the hall to another room where they would give a short speech related to the passage they had read. Some were told they were running late and the researcher in the other room would be waiting on them, while others were told they didn't need to rush.
On their way to the other room, the participants encountered someone in distress who would approach the subject and explain that his cell phone had just died and one of his family members had been in an accident. The "victim" would rank each student's helpfulness on a scale from 0 to 5--from not noticing or offering them any help to indirectly helping by telling the waiting research assistant about the situation to providing them with a cell phone or money for a pay phone.
After the students proceeded to the room and gave the speech, they answered a questionnaire about how likely they would be to help someone in need, whether they would participate in insider trading if they could get away with it and receive $2 million, and whether accumulating material wealth was one of their major goals in life.
The majority of the participants offered some form of aid to the victim, either directly or indirectly. Only 22 percent (11 people) did not help at all, and 66 percent stayed with the victim and/or gave them a cell phone to use.
Helpful, but these people weren't angels: the authors write "the preliminary data suggests the majority of the participants were somewhat ethically challenged." A little more than half (56 percent) admitted they would take the $2 million for insider trading, and 72 percent said accumulating wealth was a top life priority.
Whether or not they were in a hurry didn't seem to significantly affect the students' altruism: 84 percent of the low-hurry group stopped to help, whereas 72 percent stopped in the high-hurry group. Which passage the students had been given to read didn't affect the outcome either.
Whether the subject was intrinsically motivated by religion did predict helping behavior: those with intrinsic religious motivation (those who viewed religion as an end in itself rather than a means to an end) were 13 times more likely to help compared to a subject without intrinsic motivation (like those who viewed religion as a means to an end, motivated by social status or peer approval).
"The source of intrinsic motivation arises from following religious tradition, which calls for altruism and self-sacrifice," writes author Michael Babula, a senior lecturer in quantitative techniques at the University of Greenwich. "The significant finding offers an upbeat note that wealth-driven individuals in this sample may possess the Samaritan-like mindset."
Great, so it's possible to be both a rich investment banker and a good person. But is anyone else worried about how many of these business majors would consider insider trading?
Interesting... Samaritans were demonized by the Jews in Jesus's time, just as Wall Street peeps are demonized today. I find it funny that the good Samaritan parable was used again to demonstrate that you can't judge a person by what groups they fall into.
It's a growing issue in this country that politics have used the division of class as warefare. Just because someone is successful, it doesn't mean they are evil. In fact, one has nothing to do with the other.
It is the system\government that judges me and as I put my money into social security system, I am told by the system the government I may not have any or none social security system. Well, I have a desire to survive in life, and know it will be especially hard when I am old, would I pass up an opportunity for insider trading, I think not, since I know being honorable is not appreciate or valued by my own government in support of social security.
Though, I have no desire to rob a person or company\bank too.
WoW, what a realization for me. I suppose in a sense in regards to the management of social security, my government has defaulted and now I am open to other avenues of survival.
@ Anylcon LOL! Just remember that the government has forced you to pay social security. It isn't an option. You have to do what you must to survive. :)
The WalMart Walton family is.
Proof yet again that psychologists will go to great lengths to come up with useless studies. I guess they needed an experiment to prove what everyone else already knew: being poor doesn't make you selfless, and being rich doesn't make you greedy. Personally, I'd rather be rich and selfless than poor and greedy; so much more satisfying.
Notice the remarkable findings buried way down in paragraph 9, religious minded students were 13 TIMES more likely to help others in need... there's the story.
Luckily they were still able to keep their talking points alive by changing the headline they were reporting on from "Students motivated by wealth are just as likely as others to help in an emergency" to "Rich People Aren't ENTIRELY Awful And Selfish".
...and the control group was?
But... but... rich people are EVIL.
I know because the media tells me so.
This "rich and greedy" topic is pathetic. Just how is any individual's quality of life affected by the simple fact another person may have more money than they do?
Those that cause the greatest harm to society at large are not the "rich", instead it's those that use the power of government to force others to financially subsidize their living expenses through taxation.
The headline stated "Rich People" yet the study was done with college students who are simply wealth driven, but they could easily be poor or middle income. Not the same thing.
The faults in this “study” are laughable.
No one runs late for an “experiment”. When it gets done, it gets done!
The students aren't rich, they're taken care of by their parents. They don't have immediate machinations that impinge on the test subjects supposedly asking for help. Represent genuine competition or even just an impediment in a money making scenario and see how much not being rushed influences their “humanity”!
How pretty or how handsome were the test subjects asking for help?
Many if not most of these business types are canny. They know they're being watched. They know how to answer questions and act on camera to give the impression they want to give!
Gauge this “decency” against rich people who fire employees the day before their pension becomes active. Those who fire huge amounts of employees then demands that those lucky enough to remain do their work and others', too, for the same wage! Those who redesign containers into weird shapes so consumers won't realize they're buying less product for more money. Those who implemented “programmed obsolescence”. Those who manipulate stocks, destroying many people's savings. Those who raise large amounts of crops “to feed the hungry”, then let them rot in silos, claiming “distribution is too costly”, so they can take a “loss” on their taxes. Those who conspired with crooked politicos to pass laws mandating consumption of garbage products, such as helmets that deform children's brain development, based on at best flimsy “arguments”.
Basically, this seems like just another fraudulent “science” scam, a fabricated “experiment” designed specifically to provide a “conclusion” that is a lie.
A great list julianpenrod. We can also add employees surfing the web while being paid to work, no matter how the person justifies it, people wearing clothes with tags and then returning them to the store, trillions of dollars of merchandise stolen off the shelves without a blink, dishonestly faking or seriously exaggerating a disability to scam others, not reporting what you truly made on your tax returns. When "rich" or "corporate" people do it, it's suppose to be worse than when we do it.
"I have a dream... that we would one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, (or the balance of our checkbook) but by the content of their character." Martin Luther King, Jr. (&me)
In general, all the work any individual is required to do in their job can be completed in a few hours. Few if any employees are permitted to arbitrarily assign themselves extra jobs in their place of employment. The rest of the time is “slack time”. Any excess time employees spend on the internet generally is spent after their work is done. As for individuals either wearing clothes with tags or stealing from shelves, how much isn't done because the items are beyond them because they aren't paid legitimate wages for their work? And how many who lie on their tax returns do it because they honestly can't afford to pay what the New World Order thugs got their puppets in Congress to legislate, and how many do it because they can get away with it, because their pet Congressmen take part in yacht and debauchery parties in international waters? In general, those who insist there is no difference between corporate thugs running other people's lives in the aggregate for extra pennies they don't need and those who engage in petty stealing for survival are either imbeciles or craven, reptilianly cold blooded quisling apologists for the corporate crooks. How many people taking a bottle of cough medicine they can't afford off a shelf for their child snickers when they do it; how many corporate crooks don't guffaw at the idea of how they're dancing beyond the law and getting away with it? FotoBum strikes their colors.
Personally julianpenrod, I just couldn't do what you suggest and justify stealing from somebody by working 2 hours and billing for 8.
What about seeing it the other way. Let's pretend your boss tried to pay you 25% of what you agreed to, you know you'd bust a gasket. So why is it ok for you to steal?
The loudest "victims" usually victimize others fairly easily because it's never about being fair in their mind, it's all about being on top.
Sorry Julian, but it appears you have more in common with your corporates, crooks, and congressmen, when it comes to screwing your fellow man.
When I was in college and studying economics among other things, we were studying what was going on in the economic world at that time. Our Fed Chairman was changing and America was trying to recover from the corruption driven depression of those days. The one offering the 2 mil tip would have been grabbed by the neck and drug out for police treatment because I don't like their weak bs. Not having the drive or intelligence to obtain wealth in their chosen lines of work through merit isn't a good partner recommendation to me. Why would I not be being set up to take a fall for this guy? Why is my wealth assured, though the scumbag is willing to screw over anyone else? And WHY; if I consider myself a competent person, do I need the help of an inferior that is stupid enough to make such offer to people they don't know?
52% of these students admitted to being of criminal character and go on to get rewarded with professional certifications that will allow them to go forward in their criminally driven activity. Chekk.
American schools that find out these kinds of things about their soon to be credentialed professionals in training; aren't willing participants in an ongoing criminal enterprise. Chekk.
Trading in monies owned by others without specific point by point direction from said owners of wealth is legitimate business, and in the publics' best interests; and is deserving of legal protections and immunities for acts that are considered criminal for others. Chekk.
Yeah, you can come at me with an old saw, like the one where the owner of wealth put it in their hand so it must be legitimate and just reflective of the lack of specific detailed finance knowledge. And I'll remind that the owner of the wealth created the money pile to be invested; therefore the one with the detailed knowledge and wisdom of wealth creation is...? And the one with detailed knowledge about creation of wealth through the destruction of decent workin folk is...? And the one that our government protects over the other is...?
America. A government of the rackets, by the electorate and sometimes the people, for the carpetbaggers. A land oppressive to friend and friend to enemy. Which Lady Justice has now formally washed her hands of in every defined way; that she may focus her attention on some shiny thing or other "fer jest a sec-I'm deliberating on whether or not those human rights abuses performed by American companies abroad have merit in our court". Chekk.
Quite right, Great Lady. Deferment of responsibility to The Executive in all things was why they invested you with the Good Dress in the first place. It's right here in the newspaper. Mebbe we should start thinking of commemorating a few new National Holidays to remind evvybuddy ferever. Ahl ryt yuh uh mmemoe ohnit temo,"Oh: Your Gracious Goodness.
I'm frightfully, most abjectly Sorry, SO SORRY; Yes, Quite Elementary. I do know that it's always to be ssssppeled..."OH! Your GRACIOS- I mean Your Gracious GOODNESS!!" Specific inflection in all mmemoes.
Yes, the idea still is that we order buttloads more cash be spent for computers that every little kid gets networked into the system with as early as possible so we can get the benefit of making them a network mistake generating nightmare/computer illiterate vegetable early instead of the 6-15 math books worth of knowledge that got most of the inventors of the technology going in the first place. Right. Our studied position being that with the pencils AND the paper costs, plus this small nominal increase in time allowed to teech this generation of Typically Standard Type American(TSTA-SEE BELOW. YES, This Means You)-we just can't afford not to get the computers to them first so they can learn games and facebook and cyberwar and we'll worry bout thatt kalaclus at You, NVERSITY. And whogivesaDAMN!boutwhutthedammstatesgottospendcuzweBkreatinSUPERUNIVERSITY? Whole new levels of nderstandin. Right, and we give em da teeser of the hand me down supercomputers by presenting it like Boy!! Youda loved to have access to this as a kid!(with whatcha know know-shh, right) They go to the kids now! Ah'r KIDS ar SAVED! Right, and that the education received back then is just patentlly unworkable-and that it was inferior anyway. Caveman days aren't relevant to the world of the living exceptin when We Are Talking To The Public(WATTTP). I Re-Member. And The Executive gets responsibilities now for takin their rights all Legal-Le'Golly. Yes Goodness, that's how we Be Sppeln it naouh. Which we get tuh kreate that ther Nationl Holiday for, right? Wait. Sez heR that it's The Executive does dem Holidays. AnD-the gun thing, and the privacy thing, and The Fed orders that not be done and The Executive gets to remake Legal for the ones that live off the backs of others-Yes, and the border issues and the Crime Bills and how the government treats the people at will without recourse-so what, Great Lady, what is it You are Getting for not doing your J(J-SEE BELOW, THIS MEANS YOU)ob? Oh! YES!! Lifetime Of Destinction, Worthy of Re-Memberencez! Koodn' Member wut those leterrs stewd for. Ok; JUST TO BE CLEAR, THE SUPREME COURT JUST GETS TO ORDER THIS BS, AND WASH HANDS OF ALL THAT? While turning blind from that massive pile of Immunities From Prosecution that is the only thing we pay for that grows faster than the publics' debt?
So remember, young legal scholars. Ethics are the backbone of law. Come to American legal institutions to study with us. We will show 52% of you how to eat the rest of the world in your time. All legal and proper like. And don't worry bout being no good at the practice of law because you can still be a teacher back home. And if you are already a teacher, we'll teach you how to go back and wreck em all too. While billing hours like you wouldn't dare dream of.