It's Official: The Fancier the Car, the More Likely the Driver's a Jerk

It turns out the rich really are different from you and me. They drive like entitled jerks. That’s the authoritative word from researchers who keep track of this sort of thing.

Three studies over the last five years show that people driving expensive cars were more likely to cut off other motorists and less likely to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

“This suggests that wealthier drivers may reflect adherence to ethical codes geared towards maximizing one’s self-interest, often at the expense of others,” says psychologist Jeremy Boyd, formerly of the Human Development Program at the University of California, San Diego.

In other words, says Paul Piff, a University of California, Irvine, professor of psychology and social behavior who conducted a motoring study of his own, “money makes you more likely to exhibit the characteristics of being a jerk.”

Similar results were reported two years ago by psychologist Beth Morling from the University of Delaware, who discovered that drivers of more expensive cars were slightly less likely to stop for a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

Wealthy people, Piff says, are less willing to take up the perspective of another person and less concerned about another’s well-being, and they tend to equate being better off with being better than others. Money makes people feel more deserving of success, he adds, and less needful of others.


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