New study: Poor have more empathy than rich

Liz Goodwin

A new study suggests rich people have a lot in common with Ebeneezer Scrooge -- before his Christmas Eve conversion, that is.

In multiple experiments, rich people were found to be worse at judging others' emotions than those with less money, both in examining photographs and in actual conversations. Richer people were also ruder to strangers in the experiments and less generous with their money, LiveScience reports.

The study's authors conclude that poorer people may need to be more attuned to others' feelings in order to survive.

"Being empathic is one of the first steps to helping other people," University of California researcher Michael Kraus told LiveScience. "One of the first things we're really interested in is what can make wealthy people -- affluent people, the people with the largest capacity to give -- what can make them empathic?"

(Stock photo: Getty Images)