Rich really poor in generosity, empathy and altruism

Last Updated: Aug 12, 2011, 12:16 PM IST

London: People of a lower class show more empathy, more prosocial behaviour and compassion to others than those who are richer, a new research has found.

According to psychologist and social scientist Dacher Keltner the rich are usually self-obsessed and only worried about their own well being.

Keltner said they were “less empathetic, less altruistic and generally more selfish” as a result of having so much money, reports the Daily Mail.

He said they have an ``ideology of self interest`` and more likely to think about themselves whereas those less well off were more likely to help others.

Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, said the rich tend to stay focused on themselves.

He said wealth, education and prestige and a higher station in life gave them the freedom to only worry about themselves.

To prove his point Keltner video recorded various groups of people in conversation.

He said rich people appeared more distracted, checking mobile phones, doodling and avoiding eye contact.

Those on lower income made eye contact with the person they were talking with and nod their heads more frequently signalling they were interested in what was being said.

The study has been published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science.

ANI