Study Finds That Wealthy People Care Less
If you think the 1% doesn’t care about you, science agrees.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: April 13th, 2012
n what may come as a surprise to no one familiar with human nature, psychologists at Berkeley (so much for the study being perceived as politically neutral) have concluded that social class has a direct influence on compassion. In several different studies, wealthy people were shown to care less about the feelings of others than less wealthy people.
The people who said they were thinking about how much better off they are than others took more candy than the people who were thinking about how much worse off they were than others.
In one study, the two psychologists, Paul Piff and Dacher Keltner, observed the behavior of drivers at a busy four-way intersection. They found that luxury car drivers were more likely to cut off other drivers, and were more likely to not stop for a pedestrian.
Another study involved asking people to think about people who were better off or worse off then themselves. The participants were then shown a jar of candy and told they could take as much as they wanted. The leftover candy, they were told, would be donated to children. The people who said they were thinking about how much better off they are than others took more candy than the people who were thinking about how much worse off they were than others.
Other studies involved showing participants two videos. One video was an instructional video on how to build a patio and the other showed children suffering from cancer. Heart-rate monitors showed that poorer and less educated people had a slower heart rate watching the cancer video, which indicates paying more attention.
While these results may seem counterintuitive, after all, one would expect poorer people to be more selfish, since their resources are scarcer, the psychologists surmise that having more resources makes people less reliant on other people, which causes a disconnect from every day experiences that can lead to a lack of compassion.