Pugnacious behavior of airline passengers mirrors that of the society that is, in several ways, miles below them, suggests this newly published study. By studying what happens to the the high class people and other classy people crammed into high-flying airplanes, you can better understand what happens to the teeming, sometimes steaming, millions on the ground:
“Physical and Situational Inequality on Airplanes Predicts Air Rage,” Katherine A. DeCellesa and Michael I. Norton, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2, 2016.
The authors, at the University of Toronto and Harvard Business School, explain:
“We posit that the modern airplane is a social microcosm of class-based society, and that the increasing incidence of 'air rage' can be understood through the lens of inequality…. Analyses reveal that air rage is more common in economy class on airplanes, where inequality is physically present, and in both economy and first class when inequality is situationally salient. We extend research demonstrating that the salience of inequality decreases prosocial behavior by higher class individuals, showing that temporary exposure to physical and situational inequality predicts antisocial behavior among individuals in both higher and lower classes.”