Ambivalent attitude of young people in China toward rich kids: Evidence from behavioral indices

Dai Cui1, Lili Wu1, Jianxin Zhang1
1Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Science, People’s Republic of China
Cite this article:  Cui, D., Wu, L., & Zhang, J. (2015). Ambivalent attitude of young people in China toward rich kids: Evidence from behavioral indices. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 43(8), 1255-1264.

Volume 43 Issue 8 | e4805 | Published: September 2015 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2015.43.8.1255–1264

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A social phenomenon of great interest in China is that of young people who have rich parents, commonly referred to as “rich kids.” These rich kids are both liked and disliked by other young people, leading to contradictions in the behavior of their peers toward the rich kids. We conducted 2 studies to examine the attitude that young people hold toward rich kids from an ambivalent theory perspective. In Study 1, we used a free-thinking task and found that participants were ambivalent, associating both good and bad things with the target phrase “rich kids.” In Study 2, we presented participants with a scenario. Participants showed a more negative evaluation of, and more ambivalent emotions toward, the target they were supposed to meet when they were told that the target was a rich kid. These results showed that the participants’ attitudinal ambivalence manifested in their emotion but not in their cognitive evaluation.

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