The rich make the people poor

The question has probably accompanied mankind since the first coins were minted thousands of years ago: Does money make people happy? Research has already given many answers to this big question, most of which can be condensed into the formula "Yes, but". Now Paul Piff and Jake Moskowitz from the University of California at Irvine are daring the big question of money and happiness and are bidding in the trade journal emotion a fresh solution.

According to this, rich people are not necessarily happier than less wealthy people - but the happiness of the upper class differs from that of the less affluent classes. If you earn a lot of money, you feel above all good feelings that are directed towards your own self. This happiness ignites in the ego. If, on the other hand, the sum on the salary slip is less generous, social relationships and turning to other people donate happiness and satisfaction, the researchers report.

Happiness cannot be bought, that is obvious. But of course prosperity makes life a lot easier. Above all, being poor means feeling stress and fear. Will there be enough money for the rent this month? Is the job safe? It sounds plausible what other researchers have said in the past: up to a certain annual income there is a linear relationship between money and happiness. But if the basic material needs can be financed, the salary development is decoupled from the happiness level. And, in the light of the results of Piff and Moskowitz, it must be said that it is also changing What the good thing in life is.

"I feel good about being there for others"

The two psychologists evaluated a representative sample of the US population of 1519 participants. On the one hand, the scientists asked about the household income of the test subjects, and on the other, they split the concept of happiness into its individual parts for analysis. According to the researchers, this consists of seven different emotions, namely pleasure, awe, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love and pride. In order to make these individual dimensions of happiness measurable, Piff and Moskowitz asked their test subjects to comment on statements such as "Being there for others makes me feel good".

Wealthy participants were more likely to experience feelings of satisfaction and pride in their daily lives. Lower-income participants were more likely to feel empathy, love, and awe on record. "Rich people draw good feelings from their individual success and status," says Piff. The happiness felt on lower rungs of the social ladder also results from necessity. Those who tend to live in precarious circumstances are also more dependent on their fellow human beings. And to make a virtue out of this necessity is not the worst idea. "This shows that less well-off people have found a strategy to find meaning, joy and happiness in their lives despite adverse circumstances," says Piff.