make much headwayFew people have much sympathy for the rich who have lost millions in the latest share price crash. But then a new study has revealed the wealthy are unlikely to be bothered about those who are struggling to make ends meet.
According to psychologist and social scientist Dacher Keltner the rich are usually self-obsessed and only worried about their own well being.
Keltner said they were 'less empathetic, less altruistic and generally more selfish' as a result of having so much money.
He said they have an 'ideology of self interest' and more likely to think about themselves whereas those less well off were more likely to help others.
'We have now done 12 separate studies measuring empathy in every way imaginable, social behaviour in every way, and some work on compassion and it’s the same story,' he said.
'Lower class people just show more empathy, more prosocial behavior, more compassion, no matter how you look at it.'
Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, said the rich tend to stay focused on themselves. He said wealth, education and prestige and a higher station in life gave them the freedom to only worry about themselves.
To prove his point Keltner video recorded various groups of people in conversation. He said rich people appeared more distracted, checking mobile phones, doodling and avoiding eye contact.
Those on lower income made eye contact with the person they were talking with and nod their heads more frequently signaling they were interested in what was being said.
The psychologist also used data from 115 people playing what is called the 'dictator game'.
Those involved were paired with an unseen partner, given ten 'points' that represented money, and told they could share as many or as few of the points with the partner as they desired.
Lower-class participants gave more away even after controlling for gender, age or ethnicity.
The American psychologists findings were published in an article called 'Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm,' and published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.1