Anyone who's witnessed an ignorant Facebook argument knows that the more privileged you are, the less likely you're able to truly comprehend your own privilege. However, the problem goes even deeper than that: Rich people don't even notice other people or their problems, according to a new paper published in Psychological Science.
Psychologists at New York University analysed the "motivational relevance" of other human beings—a theory that suggests we pay attention to something when we view it as more valuable to us, often through threat or reward.
In the study, 61 people walked down a city block in Manhattan wearing Google Glass (perhaps the only time Google Glass has actually had any real use!). Participants were also asked to identify their social class. Those who considered themselves wealthy didn't look at other people for as long as those who self-identified as being part of lower social classes. by having participants look at photoraphs from Google Street View and analysing how long they spent looking at other people—and the results were similar.
The NYU researchers also conducted a separate experiment to analyse whether the amount of time their participants looked at other people was conscious or involuntary. In this study, 400 participants looked at a alternating pairs of pictures that included one face and five inanimate objects. The images would keep going back and forth on the screen until the participant hit a button to indicate they had detected a change or decided there had been no change. People who marked themselves less wealthy were faster at noticing changes in faces than people who were wealthier, which researchers believe means the faces hold higher motivational relevance for them.
So, y'know. The world is terrible.
From: Esquire US