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 Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Navigationssystem der Hirnzellen entschlüsselt

Das menschliche Gehirn besteht aus etwa hundert Milliarden Nervenzellen. Informationen zwischen ihnen werden über ein komplexes Netzwerk aus Nervenfasern übermittelt. Verdrahtet werden die meisten dieser Verbindungen vor der Geburt nach einem genetischen Bauplan, also ohne dass äußere Einflüsse eine Rolle spielen. Mehr darüber, wie das Navigationssystem funktioniert, das die Axone beim Wachstum leitet, haben jetzt Forscher des Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie (KIT) herausgefunden. Das berichten sie im Fachmagazin eLife.

Die Gesamtlänge des Nervenfasernetzes im Gehirn beträgt etwa 500.000 Kilometer, mehr als die Entfernung zwischen Erde und Mond. Damit es beim Verdrahten der...

Im Focus: Kohlenstoff-Nanoröhrchen verwandeln Strom in leuchtende Quasiteilchen

Starke Licht-Materie-Kopplung in diesen halbleitenden Röhrchen könnte zu elektrisch gepumpten Lasern führen

Auch durch Anregung mit Strom ist die Erzeugung von leuchtenden Quasiteilchen aus Licht und Materie in halbleitenden Kohlenstoff-Nanoröhrchen möglich....

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Breitbandlichtquellen mit flüssigem Kern

Jenaer Forschern ist es gelungen breitbandiges Laserlicht im mittleren Infrarotbereich mit Hilfe von flüssigkeitsgefüllten optischen Fasern zu erzeugen. Mit den Fasern lieferten sie zudem experimentelle Beweise für eine neue Dynamik von Solitonen – zeitlich und spektral stabile Lichtwellen – die aufgrund der besonderen Eigenschaften des Flüssigkerns entsteht. Die Ergebnisse der Arbeiten publizierte das Jenaer Wissenschaftler-Team vom Leibniz-Instituts für Photonische Technologien (Leibniz-IPHT), dem Fraunhofer-Insitut für Angewandte Optik und Feinmechanik, der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena und des Helmholtz-Insituts im renommierten Fachblatt Nature Communications.

Aus einem ultraschnellen intensiven Laserpuls, den sie in die Faser einkoppeln, erzeugen die Wissenschaftler ein, für das menschliche Auge nicht sichtbares,...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

10. Uelzener Forum: Demografischer Wandel und Digitalisierung

26.07.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Clash of Realities 2017: Anmeldung jetzt möglich. Internationale Konferenz an der TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Veranstaltungen

2. Spitzentreffen »Industrie 4.0 live«

25.07.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Navigationssystem der Hirnzellen entschlüsselt

26.07.2017 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

10. Uelzener Forum: Demografischer Wandel und Digitalisierung

26.07.2017 | Veranstaltungsnachrichten

Clash of Realities 2017: Anmeldung jetzt möglich. Internationale Konferenz an der TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Veranstaltungsnachrichten