We theorize that people’s social class affects their appraisals of others’ motivational relevance—the degree to which others are seen as potentially rewarding, threatening, or otherwise worth attending to. Supporting this account, three studies indicate that social classes differ in the amount of attention their members direct toward other human beings. In the first study, wearable technology was used to film the visual fields of pedestrians on city streets; higher-class participants looked less at other people than did lower-class participants. A second study tracked participants’ eye movements while they viewed street scenes; higher class was associated with reduced attention to people in the images. Finally a third study used a change-detection procedure to assess the degree to which human faces spontaneously attract visual attention; faces proved less effective at drawing the attention of high-class than low-class participants, which implies that class affects spontaneous relevance appraisals. The measurement and conceptualization of social class are discussed.
Friday, November 11, 2016
Social class and attentiveness to others.
More on “The rich are different from you and me.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald) “Yes, They have more money.” (Hemingway). Dietze and Knowles use eye movement measurements to show that people of higher social class are less attentive to other people and their faces. Their abstract, slightly edited: