TED Talk. Paul Piff: Does money make you mean?


The Power of Cash

In this entertaining – yet sobering – talk, social psychologist Paul Piff shares the results of his research into how people behave when they feel wealthy (right: badly!). Even though the problem of inequality is a complex one, there’s good news too.

Paul studies, how social hierarchy, inequality and emotion shape relations between individuals and groups. Running rigged games of Monopoly, tracking the behaviour of drivers of expensive cars as opposed to those owning less posh vehicles, and even determining that the rich are more likely to pinch candy from a bowl set up exclusively for children than the ones less well-off. He writes, “specifically, I have been finding that increased wealth and status in society lead to increased self-focus and, in turn, decreased compassion, altruism, and ethical behavior.”