I got excited as I watched this because the study was done at the UC Berkeley Psychology department! I had Professor Keltner for two classes.
While the researchers claim to have gotten the same findings over and over again in different experiments, by making people feel rich or poor, I wonder if some of the behaviors that were found to be more common in wealthy people, such as cheating, lying, and endorsing unethical behavior, are characteristic of people who aren’t yet wealthy but have a high potential to become wealthy. In other words, couldn’t those behaviors be what it takes to get rich? Likewise, it could be that people who have lower incomes aren’t as selfish and greedy to begin with, and not that it’s a consequence of poverty. Of course, as I learned from Prof. Keltner’s social psychology class, situations have a surprisingly huge amount of influence on people’s behavior. We’ve all heard of people who became wealthy and forgot their humble beginnings. Perhaps there are more data on this that I am not aware of. I guess it can be teased apart by comparing people who inherited their wealth, or didn’t otherwise have to work for it, with those who did work for their wealth (even if they acquired it through dishonest means).