Originally posted by dolphinfan
reply to post by v1rtu0s0
Where is the science? No description of the methodology, how the results were obtained, what subjective criteria used, sample size and how they were
Nothing but a bunch of bs
As v1rtu0s0 pointed out, the linked article was a media release, not the journal article itself. Being as I have free access to both of those articles
linked in the paper, I took the liberty of reading them for you (since you would have to pay $35 for a 48hr access).
I will summarize the main, relevant points of the initial paper (ref: Kraus, M. W.; Piff, P. K.; Keltner, D. Current Directions in Psychological
Science 2011, 20, 246.), which is a theoretical
study (In other words, any conclusions made were drawn from data published by other authors, or
by themselves in previous works) of how social rank (both objective and subjective) influences the ability for an individual to perceive and decode
emotions, etc. The second paper listed is encompassed within this, so I won't divulge into that.
They firstly define social class is the culmination of a person's individual wealth, education and occupational prestige. Ultimately this forms a
social class complex, which results in a series of behavioural and material distinctions between social ranks (see the figure taken from their
Specifically in reference to the OP is their findings on the difference in nonverbal behaviour between people of different class. Their claim was as
Social class is also signaled in specific repertoires of subtle nonverbal behavior that derive from the greater resources upper-class individuals
enjoy vis-à-vis their lower-class coun- terparts (e.g., Kraus & Keltner, 2009). Specifically, upper- class individuals live lives of abundant
resources and less dependency on others and should signal this resource indepen- dence with nonverbal disengagement (e.g., less responsive head nods,
less eye contact). By contrast, lower-class individ- uals are more dependent upon others’ resources, which they should signal with nonverbal social
engagement (e.g., head nods, eye contact).
Many observable aspects of social life differentiate the lives of upper- and lower-class individuals and should serve as signals of social class.
Exactly which signals are most diagnostic of social class and how these signals vary across cultures and sociopolitical contexts (e.g., capitalist,
socialist), are important areas of inquiry (see Fig. 1). So, too, are the
processes of self- and other-categorization that these class- based signals trigger. We are proposing that individuals use class-related signals to
display their objective resources and to infer the objective resources of others. Through signaling, individuals provide the information necessary to
compare their own wealth, education, occupation, aesthetic prefer- ences, and behavior to those of other individuals. This social- signaling process
separates people into different social-class categories and is the basis for the individual’s subjective understanding of his or her social-class
rank (see Markus & Kitayama, 2010, for a review of how the self is constituted in similar kinds of social comparisons).
In order to test first of these, they recorded the interactions between two people in a controlled environment, one of high class and one of lower
class. In this, they observed that their theory was indeed correct in this instance. The upper class subject spent most of their time playing with
their phone or drawing on a questionnaire and appeared overly disengaged, where as the lower class person appeared more engaged, giving emphatic head
nods, laughter, etc. In addition to this, they also found that 'naive' observers were able to correctly predict the education and income background
for each subject after being shown a 60 second clip of their interactions, which agrees with the findings of previous literature.
More poignant was their bit on "Empathic Accuracy". Referring back to figure 1 (copied in above), they postulated that social class will affect the
way by which an individual perceives and interprets the emotions of others:
As Figure 1 illustrates, we propose that social class shapes individuals’ perceptions of others’ emotions. Given that lower- class individuals
are more engaged with others (Kraus & Keltner, 2009), and guided by research suggesting that lower- ranking individuals are more reliant on others’
emotions (e.g., Guinote & Vescio, 2010), we tested whether lower-class indi- viduals would be more accurate than upper-class individuals at perceiving
the emotions that others experience.
In their initial studies from a previous work, they found that high school-educated subjects were able to decipher the emotions of a static facial
expression more accurately than college-educated participants. Second to this, they also tested whether a person's perception of their social rank
(subjective social rank) would induce empathic accuracy (i.e. would be able to interpret emotions correctly). To do this, they asked participants to
envisage interacting with a higher ranking person, with the theory in mind that doing so would cause them to perceive themselves as having a lower
social rank than normal and induce greater accuracy in perceiving emotions of static expressions. It was found that people did indeed report a 'lower
subjective social-class rank" when imagining interacting with a higher ranking individual and furthermore, that lower ranking subjects had a greater
In response to these results, the authors state this:
That an objective resource measure (educational attain- ment) and a subjective rank-based manipulation of social class similarly predicted
empathic accuracy suggests that objective social class and subjective social-class rank uniquely influ- ence class-based psychological experiences.
Furthermore, as social-class measures are often intertwined with other vari- ables (e.g., neighborhood or ethnicity), the manipulation of subjective
social-class rank provides the first evidence that the construct can cause empathic accuracy. More broadly, these results highlight the importance of
the social context in shift- ing the experience of subjective social-class rank and class- based patterns of emotion perception. Extending this work,
we would expect perceptions of social-class rank to influence accuracy in judgments of others’ attitudes and personality traits—domains relevant
to empathic accuracy.
Another interesting finding that was eluded to in the article linked by v1rtu0s0, was that lower income individuals tended to give away a high
proportion of their salary to charity than did higher income individuals. They further tested these statistics in the following assay:
In one study, we asked individuals to divide 10 points (which would later be exchanged for money) between themselves and an anonymous partner. We
found that individuals reporting lower subjective socioeconomic status gave more to their part- ner than did upper-socioeconomic-status participants.
In another study, we found parallel effects with objective social class: Lower-income participants helped a distressed confed- erate more than did
their upper-income peers.
A third and final test was similar to that used to test empathic accuracy. They first manipulated subjective social class of participants by asking
them to imagine interacting with a higher or lower class individual before stating how much of people's income should go towards charity. They found
that a lower subjective social-class rank resulted in a higher amount than those of a higher subjective social-class rank. In addition, lower income
individuals in the study were more charitable than those of higher income.
I suppose in the end, the rich didn't get rich by donating large portions of money to charity. That being said, I think this disparity is more or less
an expected stereotype and I don't think this is anything more than evidence of a common perception. It would still be a handy piece of information in
terms of policy making, but as with the concept of constructivism, it's likely not as black and white as our collective policy makers would like.
edit on 10-8-2011 by hypervalentiodine because: (no reason given)