Thursday, January 22, 2015

Blame it on the vagus nerve

Why Rich People Don't Care About You

Posted by Ross Pomeroy, January 22, 2015, RealClearScience

Examine the income ladder of the United States, and you'll soon stumble upon a surprising fact: Rich people donate a smaller portion of their income to charity than poor people. In 2011, people in the bottom 20% donated 3.2 percent of their earnings. People in the top 20% donated just 1.3 percent.

Similar trends show up in the psychology lab, too.

"What we've been finding across dozens of studies and thousands of participants across this country is that as a person's levels of wealth increase, their feelings of compassion and empathy go down, and their feelings of entitlement, of deservingness, and their ideology of self-interest increases," Paul Piff, an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine, announced in a 2013 TEDx talk.

In one study, Piff brought rich and poor members of the community into the lab and gave them each $10. Participants were told that they could keep the money or share it with a stranger. The poorest subjects, those making less than $25,000 a year, gave 44% more than those making between $150,000 and $200,000.

(Continued here.)

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