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Money Can’t Buy Empathy

Money can’t buy you happiness—or social skills, apparently. A new psychology study finds those who are poor are better at empathy than the wealthy.

In multiple experiments, people of high socioeconomic status (or people who perceived themselves to be well-off) were worse at judging other people’s emotions than those of low socioeconomic status, both when looking at photographs and interacting with real people. The reason may be that people with low income or low education have to be more responsive to others to get by, said study author Michael Kraus, a postdoctoral researcher in psychology at the University of California, San Francisco. “You can see how being empathic provides a better ability to respond to social threats,” Kraus told LiveScience. “It also gives you an opportunity to respond to social opportunities.”


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