Ambivalent attitude of young people in China toward rich kids: Evidence from behavioral indices
Dai Cui, Lili Wu, and Jianxin Zhang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2015, 43(8), 1255–1264

The authors of this paper focused on phenomenon of children from wealthy families using social media as a forum to display the material goods their parents have bought them. This type of behavior has been found to draw negative attention from viewers who perceive that these children are spoiled, arrogant, and disproportionately privileged; however, some degree of fascination with the lives of these so-called “rich kids”—as played out on social media, television shows, and the like—has also been reported in the literature.

Cai, Wu, and Zhang conducted two studies to examine the attitudes of young people in China toward their peers who are rich kids. Study 1 was aimed at determining if these attitudes can be considered to be ambivalent, and it was found that this is the case, with both positive and negative traits being attributed to this group. Study 2 was then conducted to establish if this ambivalence manifests in the form of cognitive evaluations, emotions, or both. An emotional basis was found to be most common, with the participants desiring to be friends with the rich kids but also expecting that such a connection would be characterized by high conflict and low efficiency.

The authors conclude by recommending that accurate and positive information be reported by the media, to balance the exaggerated negative examples who are portrayed as being typical of this group. In addition, encouraging greater face-to-face contact between rich kids and their less wealthy peers would to provide the opportunity for individuals to get to know each other and potentially allow for a reduction in prejudiced attitudes toward rich kids as a group. It would be interesting to find out if these results also apply to other cultural contexts, especially given the prevalence of Western reality shows featuring rich kids.

Sarah Krivan | Copyeditor
Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal