The difficulty with empathy

Earlier this week, the University of California, Berkeley, announced that a study comprising around 300 young adults from different ethnic and social backgrounds indicates that people from the “upper-middle and upper classes were less able to detect and respond to the distress signals of others”


Overall results, the news release explains, showed that when emotionally charged situations arise, the amount of empathy and compassion people show is inversely proportional to their socio-economic status. However, the researchers seemed eager to point out that this is not because richer people are bad people. Or that they are, in some way, “cold-hearted”. Instead, lead researcher and social psychologist Jennifer Stellar suggests richer people may not be capable of “recognizing signals of suffering” because they’ve seldom seen these signals.