When compared to their lower socioeconomic counterparts, rich people are less skilled at recognizing other people's emotions, a study suggests.
According to a study published in the journal Psychological Science, compared to their lower socioeconomic counterparts, rich people are less skilled at recognizing other people's emotions. Poor rich people!
One experiment used volunteers who worked at a university. Some had graduated from college and others had not; researchers used educational level as a proxy for social class. The volunteers did a test of emotion perception, in which they were instructed to look at pictures of faces and indicate which emotions each face was displaying. People with more education performed worse on the task than people with less education. In another study, university students who were of higher social standing (determined from each student's self-reported perceptions of his or her family's socioeconomic status) had a more difficult time accurately reading the emotions of a stranger during a group job interview.
These results suggest that people of upper-class status aren't very good at recognizing the emotions other people are feeling. The researchers speculate that this is because they can solve their problems, like the daycare example, without relying on others -- they aren't as dependent on the people around them.
Maybe most fascinating is that "when people were made to feel that they were at a lower social class than they actually were, they got better at reading emotions," suggesting that even a temporary shift in context can account for behavioral changes.
Via The Awl