Originally posted by Soothfast
[i]Psychologist and social scientist Dacher Keltner says the rich really are different, and not in a good way: Their life experience makes them less empathetic, less altruistic, and generally more selfish.
In fact, he says, the philosophical battle over economics, taxes, debt ...[text shortened]... ght say, this much is a statistical fact: warped wealth distribution leads to a sadder world.
I think it is important to look under the hood of the study. Here is another report on it, from:
The subjects were university students and employees.
"In American social science, the definition of class is generally based on measures like income, occupational prestige and material wealth. In these experiments, class was determined either by educational level or by self-reported perceptions of family socioeconomic status."
.......That is "self-reported socioeconomic status." See below for what happens if these kids are taken down a notch, self-image wise.
"In the first experiment, participants were asked to look at pictures of faces and indicate which emotions were being expressed. The more upper class the judges, the less able they were to accurately identify emotions in others."
In another experiment, upper-class participants had a harder time reading the emotions of strangers during simulated job interviews.
In the third one — an interesting twist of an experiment — people of greater socioeconomic status were asked to compare themselves to the wealthiest, most powerful Americans, thus diminishing their own relative stature. When asked to identify emotions by looking at 36 sets of emoting eyes, they did markedly better than their upper-class peers. "
......who were not taken down a notch. Note that this study was not attitudinal, that is, these kids didn't have an unempathetic attitude; they simply couldn't read people as well. But when their status was diminished in their own eyes, then they could do better.
.......The study suggests a reason:
"Here’s why: Earlier studies have suggested that those in the lower classes, unable to simply hire others, rely more on neighbors or relatives for things like a ride to work or child care. As a result, the authors propose, they have to develop more effective social skills — ones that will engender good will.
...... I think people with money have people who hire people, vet them, etc. People without have to learn how to judge the emotional state of people they rely on for a ride to work, child care, etc.
“Upper-class people, in spite of all their advantages, suffer empathy deficits,” Dr. Keltner said. “And there are enormous consequences.” In other words, a high-powered lawyer or chief executive, ill equipped to pick up on more-subtle emotions, doesn’t make for a sympathetic boss. "
..... I have certainly noticed this in my life, in the workplace.
Another study is needed, comparing people who have become rich by their own efforts, to people who have become rich by inheritance. But this study involved students (probably not self-made rich, those that were rich) and employees (probably not in general rich at all) of an unnamed university.