Does Low (vs. High) Subjective Socioeconomic Status Increase Both Prosociality and Aggression?

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Abstract

Previous research has shown that people of low subjective socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to experience compassion and provide help to others than people of high SES. However, low subjective SES also appears to be related to more hostile and aggressive responding. Given that prosociality is typically an antagonist of aggression, we examined whether low subjective SES individuals could be indeed more prosocial and antisocial. Five studies – two correlational, three experimental – found that low subjective SES was related to increased aggression. In contrast, subjective SES was not negatively related to trait and state measures of prosociality.

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