From the Ideas Section of the Boston Sunday Globe:
Luxury ate my morals
IF POWER corrupts, then what does luxury do? In a new study, business school researchers fi nd that it doesn't take much for luxury to do its thing. Students reviewed pictures of either luxury or nonluxury shoes and watches. Later, they were asked to evaluate several business scenarios from the perspective of a CEO. Students who had been exposed to the luxury items were significantly more willing to produce a polluting car, sell buggy software, and sell a violence-inducing video game. In addition, these students were also less likely to identify prosocial words in a letter scramble. In other words, priming people with luxury makes them more selfish. The authors wonder if managers make different decisions "at a luxury resort as opposed to a modest conference room."
Chua, R. & Zou, X., "The Devil Wears Prada? Effects of Exposure to Luxury Goods on Cognition and Decision Making," Harvard University (November 2009).