BUSINESS
08/26/2013 12:31 pm ET

The Rich Are More Narcissistic And Likely To Check Themselves Out: Study

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The rich just love to look at themselves in the mirror. And that's only one of many signs that they're more narcissistic than everyone else, according to new research.

A rise in narcissism over the last several years -- as anecdotally exhibited in Kanye West’s decision to drop a track called “I am a God” -- is more pronounced among upper-class Americans than anyone else, according to a recent study by Paul K. Piff, a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California-Berkeley.

Before coming to the conclusion, Piff ran a series of experiments. And in every case, he found that being wealthy is highly correlated with higher levels of narcissism and feelings of entitlement.

The experiments included one that analyzed survey data in a search for a correlation between narcissism and social class; one that asked participants to rate themselves relative to others; and another that gave participants the option to look at themselves in the mirror before a photoshoot (the rich were more likely to take him up on it).

So what can one do to curb his or her sense of entitlement? Piff found that introducing a series of questions priming some participants to think about egalitarianism and equality often did the trick.

Piff’s study, published in SAGE journals’ Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, adds to the growing body of evidence that being rich just makes you behave a bit differently. Other examples include research finding that wealthy people are more likely to be aggressive drivers and take candy from children.

One thing probably not helping the narcissism divide is the growing income gap. The top 20 percent of Americans saw their incomes grow more than 5 percent in 2011, while almost everyone else saw their incomes fall during that year, according to a recent study by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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