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How Money Addled Are You?*


Research on the effects of socioeconomic status on behavior involves isolating a variety of human impulses, including empathy, ethics, and generosity. Here, we've adapted components of the Berkeley team's techniques to create our own test. Is money making you a monster?

Answer each question and submit your score at the bottom of the page to find out how you stack up.

On the top rung are the richest, most educated people with the best jobs. On the bottom rung are the poorest people with the least education and worst jobs, or no jobs.

Part 1

This first question records perceived status; at the end of the quiz, you'll use your response to compare your overall score to those of your peers. Place yourself on the ladder below according the following description.

On the top rung are the richest, most educated people with the best jobs. On the bottom rung are the poorest people with the least education and worst jobs, or no jobs.

What rung do you belong on?

Part 2

“Emotion decoding” tests like this one gauge a person's empathy. Match the following images to the emotions they convey, then check your accuracy with the answer key at right. (The more expressions you identify correctly, the higher your social IQ.)


  • A) anger
  • B) fear
  • C) disgust
  • D) sympathy
  • E) interest
  • F) desire
  • G) surprise
  • H) sadness
  • I) embarrassment
  • J) shame

+ Show Answer Key
Total accurate matches:

Photos: © Emotionwise LLC

Part 3

The following questions were inspired by a questionnaire administered in the Berkeley lab to see how people of different statuses handle ethical dilemmas. Imagine yourself in the following scenarios—and answer honestly. (For every "no" response, you get two points. For every "maybe," you get one, and every "yes," zero.)

1. You work at an advertising agency. You're alone, and realize you are out of pens at home. You put a handful into your gym bag. Would you do this?

2. You are at a cocktail party where an acquaintance from a pharmaceutical firm drunkenly brags the FDA is about to approve his company's game-changing drug. The next day you buy shares of the company. Would you do this?

3. After waiting in line for ten minutes to buy a coffee and walking half a mile away, you realize Dunkin' Donuts mistakenly gave you change for a $20 bill instead for the $10 you gave them. You don't walk back to return the money. Would you do this?

4. Your new computer requires you to purchase a software package that retails for $50. Your friend knows how to download it for free, and offers to show you. Would you do this?

5. Your former colleague works at a rival company. Your boss asks you to take the colleague out and pump him for information about his company's new product. Would you do this?

How many points did you score?

Part 4

This simple hypothetical, sometimes called the "dictator task," was developed as a test of generosity. Consider the following situation and choose how much you are willing to give.

You have been paired with another New York Magazine reader. You are given a $10 "endowment," but the other person has been given nothing. You can choose how much of this endowment you would like to transfer to the other person and how much you would like to keep for yourself. The other person doesn't make a decision, only you do. Each dollar you have remaining at the end of this quiz will be given to you in cash.

How much of your $10 endowment would you like to share?
Click here to get your final tally

Final Tally

You scored 6.

  • How to interpret your score:
  • 21-30: You tend to put others first.
  • 11-20: You are compassionate when convenient.
  • 0-10: You are the poodle.

  • Are you more or less nice than your socioeconomic cohorts? Here's how people who rank themselves on your rung of the ladder would score on this test, according to Berkeley research:
  • 8-10: 10 points or less
  • 4-7: 11 to 20 points
  • 1-3: 21 to 30 points

*Our scoring system was created in consultation with Berkeley's Paul Piff, who also helped calculate the Final Averages Based on his own research and the established research of others. Piff Asked that we remind you this is a magazine sidebar, not a peer-reviewed Journal article, and that results should be considered unscientific.


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