Lower classes quicker to show compassion in the face of suffering

Emotional differences between the rich and poor, as depicted in such Charles Dickens classics as “A Christmas Carol” and “A Tale of Two Cities,” may have a scientific basis. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that people in the lower socio-economic classes are more physiologically attuned to suffering, and quicker to express compassion than their more affluent counterparts.

 

By comparison, the UC Berkeley study found that individuals in the upper middle and upper classes were less able to detect and respond to the distress signals of others. Overall, the results indicate that socio-economic status correlates with the level of empathy and compassion that people show in the face of emotionally charged situations.

 

…Recognizing suffering is the first step to responding compassionately. The results suggest that it’s not that upper classes don’t care, it’s that they just aren’t as good at perceiving stress or anxiety,

Stellar said.

 

By Yasmin Anwar