Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Social Class as Culture

09.08.2011
Social class is more than just how much money you have.

It’s also the clothes you wear, the music you like, the school you go to—and has a strong influence on how you interact with others, according to the authors of a new article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. People from lower classes have fundamentally different ways of thinking about the world than people in upper classes—a fact that should figure into debates on public policy, according to the authors.

“Americans, although this is shifting a bit, kind of think class is irrelevant,” says 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.”

People who come from a lower-class background have to depend more on other people. “If you don’t have resources and education, you really adapt to the environment, which is more threatening, by turning to other people,” Keltner says. “People who grow up in lower-class neighborhoods, as I did, will say,’ There’s always someone there who will take you somewhere, or watch your kid. You’ve just got to lean on people.’”

Wealthier people don’t have to rely on each other as much. This causes differences that show up in psychological studies. People from lower-class backgrounds are better at reading other people’s emotions. They’re more likely to act altruistically. “They give more and help more. If someone’s in need, they’ll respond,” Keltner says. When poor people see someone else suffering, they have a physiological response that is missing in people with more resources. “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,” he says. Of course, there are also costs to being lower-class. Health studies have found that lower-class people have more anxiety and depression and are less physically healthy.

Upper-class people are different, Keltner says. “What wealth and education and prestige and a higher station in life gives you is the freedom to focus on the self.” In psychology experiments, wealthier people don’t read other people’s emotions as well. They hoard resources and are less generous than they could be.

One implication of this, Keltner says, is that’s unreasonable to structure a society on the hope that rich people will help those less fortunate. “One clear policy implication is, the idea of nobless oblige or trickle-down economics, certain versions of it, is bull,” Keltner says. “Our data say you cannot rely on the wealthy to give back. The ‘thousand points of light’—this rise of compassion in the wealthy to fix all the problems of society—is improbable, psychologically.”

The ability to rise in class is the great promise of the American Dream. But studies have found that, as people rise in the classes, they become less empathetic. Studies have also found that as people rise in wealth, they become happier—but not as much as you’d expect. “I think one of the reasons why is the human psyche stops feeling the need to connect and be closer to others, and we know that’s one of the greatest sources of happiness science can study,” Keltner says.

For more information about this study, please contact: Dacher Keltner at keltner@berkeley.edu.

Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, publishes concise reviews on the latest advances in theory and research spanning all of scientific psychology and its applications. For a copy of "Social Class as Culture: The Convergence of Resources and Rank in the Social Realm," please contact Divya Menon at 202-293-9300 or dmenon@psychologicalscience.org.

Divya Menon | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-Ever 3D Printed Excavator Project Advances Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing R&D

Heavy construction machinery is the focus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s latest advance in additive manufacturing research. With industry partners and university students, ORNL researchers are designing and producing the world’s first 3D printed excavator, a prototype that will leverage large-scale AM technologies and explore the feasibility of printing with metal alloys.

Increasing the size and speed of metal-based 3D printing techniques, using low-cost alloys like steel and aluminum, could create new industrial applications...

Im Focus: Zielsichere Roboter im Mikromaßstab

Dank einer halbseitigen Beschichtung mit Kohlenstoff lassen sich Mikroschwimmer durch Licht antreiben und steuern

Manche Bakterien zieht es zum Licht, andere in die Dunkelheit. Den einen ermöglicht dieses phototaktische Verhalten, die Sonnenenergie möglichst effizient für...

Im Focus: Experimentalphysik - Protonenstrahlung nach explosiver Vorarbeit

LMU-Physiker haben mit Nanopartikeln und Laserlicht Protonenstrahlung produziert. Sie könnte künftig neue Wege in der Strahlungsmedizin eröffnen und bei der Tumorbekämpfung helfen.

Stark gebündeltes Licht entwickelt eine enorme Kraft. Ein Team um Professor Jörg Schreiber vom Lehrstuhl für Experimentalphysik - Medizinische Physik der LMU...

Im Focus: Der perfekte Sonnensturm

Ein geomagnetischer Sturm hat sich als Glücksfall für die Wissenschaft erwiesen. Jahrzehnte rätselte die Forschung, wie hoch energetische Partikel, die auf die Magnetosphäre der Erde treffen, wieder verschwinden. Jetzt hat Yuri Shprits vom Deutschen GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ und der Universität Potsdam mit einem internationalen Team eine Erklärung gefunden: Entscheidend für den Verlust an Teilchen ist, wie schnell die Partikel sind. Shprits: „Das hilft uns auch, Prozesse auf der Sonne, auf anderen Planeten und sogar in fernen Galaxien zu verstehen.“ Er fügt hinzu: „Die Studie wird uns überdies helfen, das ‚Weltraumwetter‘ besser vorherzusagen und damit wertvolle Satelliten zu schützen.“

Ein geomagnetischer Sturm am 17. Januar 2013 hat sich als Glücksfall für die Wissenschaft erwiesen. Der Sonnensturm ermöglichte einzigartige Beobachtungen, die...

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Smart Glasses Experience Day

30.09.2016 | Veranstaltungen

Einzug von Industrie 4.0 und Digitalisierung im Südwesten - Innovationstag der SmartFactoryKL

30.09.2016 | Veranstaltungen

"Physics of Cancer" - Forscher diskutieren über biomechanische Eigenschaften von Krebszellen

30.09.2016 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Smart Glasses Experience Day

30.09.2016 | Veranstaltungsnachrichten

Materialkompetenz für den Leichtbau: Fraunhofer IMWS präsentiert neue Lösungen auf der K-Messe

30.09.2016 | Messenachrichten

Vom Rollstuhl auf das Liegerad – Mit Funktioneller Elektrostimulation zum Cybathlon

30.09.2016 | Energie und Elektrotechnik