For years, mankind believed that emotions have nothing to do with education or class. But, a latest research published in the journal Psychological Science reveal that people with higher education or higher social standing are less likely to understand the emotions of people around them.

According to the research on emotion perception, people with lower education and social standing could read other’s emotions better. Researchers believe that as people from lower educational and social background depend heavily on support from others for their life, they tend to understand other’s emotions better. But, people with higher education and social standing do not rely heavily on others for their life. This may be the reason why they fail to recognize other’s emotions compared to people with lower social and educational standing.

The researchers, Michael W. Kraus and Stéphane Côté at the University of California arrived at this conclusion after studying two groups from different educational and social backgrounds. They were asked to read the faces which depicts different emotions. People with higher education and social standing found it difficult to accurately read the emotions on the faces compared to people with lower education or social standing.

But, another study by Kraus and Cote showed that when people are made to believe that their social and educational standing is different from what it actually is their ability to grasp other’s emotions changed accordingly. So, the two researchers believe that the ability to understand other’s emotions is not inbuilt; it depends on the perceived social and educational status.

According to Kraus, “it's not something ingrained in the individual; it's the cultural context leading to these differences. It's not that a lower-class person, no matter what, is going to be less intelligent than an upper-class person. It's all about the social context the person lives in, and the specific challenges the person faces. If you can shift the context even temporarily, social class differences in any number of behaviors can be eliminated."