By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
People from different economic classes have fundamentally different ways of thinking about the world, according to research recently published in Current Directions in Psychological Science.
The authors of the study said the findings have important, but overlooked, implications for public policy.
“Americans, although this is shifting a bit, kind of think class is irrelevant,” said Dacher Keltner of the University of California-Berkeley, who cowrote the article with Michael W. Kraus of UC-San Francisco and Paul K. Piff of UC-Berkeley.
“I think our studies are saying the opposite: This is a profound part of who we are.”
A study published in Psychological Science in November, for instance, found that people of upper-class status have trouble recognizing the emotions other people are feeling. People of lower-class status do a much better job.
“What I think is really interesting about that is, it kind of shows there’s all this strength to the lower class identity: greater empathy, more altruism, and finer attunement to other people,” Keltner said