Being in or around luxury shops appears to change the way people treat others, according to new research.
The study's initial hypothesis was that people's level of helpfulness would vary depending on whether or not high-end retailers were nearby.
To test this, the team conducted three field experiments. One involved a female with a leg brace trying to pick up items she had dropped.
Of those leaving one of the stores in Paris's ritzy Triangle d'Or shopping area, only 35% went to help her; when the same experiment was carried out on a non-retail street, more than 77% assisted.
In a second experiment, a woman asked passersby if they could briefly stand with her wheelchair-bound friend while she left to retrieve her mobile phone.
Only 23% of luxury shoppers helped, but the figure jumped to 82% in a residential area.
In the last experiment, a woman asked to borrow a cell phone. Among high-end shoppers, 41% agreed; among people in a mixed retail area, 63% agreed, and among those in a place without stores, 74% agreed.