Why rich arseholes can’t tell what you’re thinking

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The next time you’re at The Ivy and can’t work out why that cute CEO isn’t getting the signals that you want him to jump you, consider a new study published in ‘Psychological Science Journal’ that reveals wealthier individuals are less able to read other people’s emotions than their more cash-strapped counterparts.

Says co-author of the study, Michael Kraus, “We found that – in terms of occupation, status, education and income level – people from a lower class background performed better in terms of emotional intelligence [or the ability] to read emotions that others are feeling.”

So on that note, too, if you’re looking for a little sympathy or empathy, you’re more likely to get it from the cleaner or counterhand than from your rich boss.

In the study, more than 300 subjects of upper and lower classes were asked to interpret the emotions of strangers in photographs and mock job interviews. Those with more money, education and self-defined social status weren’t nearly as adept at figuring out if a person was upset, happy or anxious as their lower class colleagues. It may have something to do with wealthy people not needing to resort to help as often as poorer folk.

According to Kraus, humbler folk turn to people more often; it’s an adaptive strategy where they develop a heightened independence with other individuals as a way to deal with not having enough resources of their own. Higher status individuals, on the other hand, don’t need to ask for help as much hence grow less concerned, less perceptive, and become more deficient in empathic accuracy.