Out of my way, lower-class person!!! Why rich drivers cut us off.

| July 17, 2013

Surely you aren’t surprised when the driver of the luxury sedan cuts you off and pretends to never have seen you as he speeds away. You are dirt under his high-end radials.

You know that drivers of more expensive cars are more likely to cut off other drivers and violate pedestrians’ right of way.

Now you have the support of a new study from the National Academy of Sciences. The report says that the upper-class drivers cut you off not because they think they’re better than you (yeah, right) but because they have a pretty high opinion of greed.

“Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals,” according to the research.

Other parts of the study show that what they call “upper-class individuals” were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies, take valued goods from others, lie in a negotiation, cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize, and endorse unethical behavior at work than were “lower-class individuals.”

And you have to love this line from the study: “Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.”

The researchers relied on vehicle make, model and year to determine a driver’s social status. That may be a little shaky as far as solid social science goes, but it still works. When the study controlled for the sex of the driver, time of day and other factors, it found that higher-status drivers were more likely to cut off other drivers at the intersection or fail to yield to pedestrians in a crosswalk.

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