Somebody paid for this study, and apparently it was bogus. A science study said we are more altruistic if we are at a higher–as in elevation–level. Now, it appears not. From the Chronicle of Higher Education blog:
Uri Simonsohn, the University of Pennsylvania researcher whose questions about the validity of a Dutch social psychologist’s work led to the man’s resignation, has identified another social psychologist whose data he believes are suspect. Nature reports that Lawrence Sanna resigned in May from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. The reasons are not clear, although his resignation followed scrutiny of his work by Mr. Simonsohn and Mr. Sanna’s previous employer, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mr. Simonsohn told Nature that he was “puzzled” by the large effects described in Mr. Sanna’s papers, in a growing area of psychology called embodied cognition. One of Mr. Sanna’s papers gained attention last year for arguing that people behave more altruistically when they are literally elevated—for example, on an escalator. Mr. Sanna has asked the editor of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology to retract three of the papers he published, according to Nature.
Only a science journal could believe that, apparently. Good grief.