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Psychol Rev. 2012 Jul;119(3):546-72. doi: 10.1037/a0028756.

Social class, solipsism, and contextualism: how the rich are different from the poor.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 603 East Daniel Street, Champaign, IL 61820, USA. mwkraus@illinois.edu

Abstract

Social class is shaped by an individual's material resources as well as perceptions of rank vis-à-vis others in society, and in this article, we examine how class influences behavior. Diminished resources and lower rank create contexts that constrain social outcomes for lower-class individuals and enhance contextualist tendencies--that is, a focus on external, uncontrollable social forces and other individuals who influence one's life outcomes. In contrast, abundant resources and elevated rank create contexts that enhance the personal freedoms of upper-class individuals and give rise to solipsistic social cognitive tendencies--that is, an individualistic focus on one's own internal states, goals, motivations, and emotions. Guided by this framework, we detail 9 hypotheses and relevant empirical evidence concerning how class-based contextualist and solipsistic tendencies shape the self, perceptions of the social environment, and relationships to other individuals. Novel predictions and implications for research in other socio-political contexts are considered.

Copyright 2012 APA, all rights reserved.

PMID:
22775498
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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