How Success Makes You Selfish
It’s a pretty common preconceived notion: people in prominent social positions are usually selfish jerks. But according to a series of studies, people who don’t feel they earned their high-ranking status are much more generous than those who feel they deserve the respect and admiration of others.
The studies involved more than 1,200 participants and the findings were published in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Previous research showed that “powerful” people—those who have greater control over resources—tend to be more selfish, whether they perceive their power as fair or not. However, people with high social status—those who are well-respected by others—tend to be more generous if they don’t feel their status is fair.
Interestingly, previous research shows that generosity is one factor that leads to high social status. What happens to generosity when that high social standing is attained? It may go out the window if entitlement settles in.
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