Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Empathy is for the lower classes

MSNBC reports:
Upper-class people are less adept at reading other people's emotions than their lower-class counterparts, according to a new study published in the journal Psychological Science.

“We found that people from a lower-class background – in terms of occupation, status, education and income level – performed better in terms of emotional intelligence, the ability to read the emotions that others are feeling,” says Michael Kraus, co-author of the study and a postdoctoral student in psychology at the University of California, San Francisco.

In other words, if you’re looking for a little empathy, you’re more likely to get it from a poor person than a rich one (just ask Bob Cratchit).
Here is the abstract.

Empathy is usually considered a good thing. But this study suggests that it is more of a quality for the lower classes. The higher-class folks don't need it and don't want it.

1 comment:

Oliver said...

I wonder if there is an inverse correlation between wealth/status and the ability to empathize with others. Is a billionaire more safely insulated from reality than someone with a good paying job? Sometimes I've privately speculated about the sanity of our national leaders, and this article seem to bolster to my less rigorously made personal observations.
It would seem that empathy is a desirable quality (Christian morality aside) if for the simple fact that it enables one to more accurately understand the world around us, and not make decisions based on incorrect beliefs.