Rich and rude 上流人更易欺骗撒谎

英語學習點社會等級詞語 Vocabulary: Social class

Image copyright BBC World Service

It's official – rich people really are stuck-up, at least according to one recent piece of research. A series of studies into unethical behaviour across the social classes has shown that posh people are more likely to cheat, lie and be greedy than people who are less well-off.

Researchers from the University of California secretly observed people's behaviour in the real world and in a number of studies in the laboratory. The research showed that upper-class individuals are more likely to break the law while driving and take valued goods from others. In the first study, researchers hid by a crossroads in San Francisco and spied on drivers who were meant to stop and wait their turn before driving on. Whenever a car arrived at the junction, the scientists ranked the driver's class according to the model, age and appearance of the car. Nearly 250 drivers were observed. About 8% of those in the less classy cars cut people up, but drivers in the most prestigious cars did so around one third of the time.

The results were similar when a pedestrian tried to cross. Drivers of the cheapest, oldest cars were most likely to slow down and give way, but those in the most fancy cars ignored the pedestrian around 45% of the time. The researchers also found a strong link between social status and greed and selfishness, a connection they think might widen economic inequality between the rich and poor. In several laboratory studies, the scientists found that the higher a person's class, the more likely they were to tell lies in negotiations and cheat for money. It seems that the riff-raff always beat the toffs – at least when it comes to morals.