In five different experiments involving several hundred undergraduates and 100 adults recruited from online communities, the researchers found higher levels of both narcissism and entitlement among those of higher income and social class.
The study, which was published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, showed that when asked to visually depict themselves as circles, with size indicating relative importance, richer people picked larger circles for themselves and smaller ones for others. Another experiment found that they also looked in the mirror more frequently.
The wealthier participants were also more likely to agree with statements like “I honestly feel I’m just more deserving than other people” and place themselves higher on a self-assessed “class ladder” that indicated increasing levels of income, education and job prestige. …
The results come as no surprise to Madeline Levine, a California psychologist and author of Teach Your Children Well, who has long treated affluent teens in her practice. “Their sense of entitlement is overpowering,” she says, describing a teenage patient who stomped in furious and feeling deprived because he was stuck driving his mother’s “mom-car Lexus” rather than being given his own BMW.