Science Explains Why So Many Rich People Are Jerks

From cutting off people in traffic with their luxury cars, to turning their noses up at others, rich people are statistically more likely to be jerks, according to science. But the explanation for that is pretty complicated.

"Counter to what we may believe, people who are most likely to gain power in a group are actually the emotionally intelligent ones who focus on others, practice generosity and aren't the bullies," according to AsapSCIENCE. "But this leads to the power paradox. To gain power, you need empathy. But once you feel powerful, you become more self-focused."

And that phenomenon is physiological as well as sociological. "Areas like the pre-frontal cortex that activate when understanding mental states or considering the thoughts of others show less activity in those with a higher social class."

Meanwhile, poorer people show greater engagement with the emotions of others.

"Poor people...have a greater ability to assess the emotional states of others, have more interpersonal interactions, greater eye contact, head nodding and laughing compared to richer people, who are more likely to self-groom, fidget or doodle. One possible explanation for this is that people with less materials, resources and privilege rely more on others to meet their needs. And this creates a pressure to be more emotionally intelligent."

Of course, that doesn't mean that all poor people are good and all rich people are lousy.

"Not all rich people are jerks, but in general, as your wealth increases, your empathy decreases, making rich people statistically more likely to be jerks."

Find out more in this video.


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