[ This is part of the Evolutionary Psychology Explanation Series (EPES), where I explore the possibility of various human behaviors having roots in Evolution. I’m not a scientist or expert on Evolutionary Psychology, just someone who’s read several books on the topic and who likes to understand the world. Some hypothesis will be good; others will not. ]
People self-identifying as less wealthy were significantly faster than those of a higher social class at noticing change in faces in the photos, a sign, the researchers say, that faces held higher motivational relevance for them.
This is interesting in an number of ways. Let me talk through a couple that stand out to me.
I think the primary reason the rich look less at, and care less about, the people around them, is because they aren’t likely to have to deal with those people to accomplish their goals.
If you’re in the middle or lower classes, you live your life dealing with people in the middle and bottom of the social structure. Those are the people all around you.
If you are in an upper range, you tend to interact with others in that same group, i.e. not the people you’ll find just milling about.
So it all comes down to people having goals and people wielding tools to accomplish those goals. If you’re poor or middle class, you rely heavily on everyday people to be effective. If you’re rich, you don’t.
That’s my explanation of this study’s findings.
But again, this just a thought based on a basic understanding of EP and a skim of an article.
If you disagree I’d love to hear about your interpretation.