Paul Piff of the University of California, Irvine in a research reported that people who earn more money tend to experience more positive emotions focused on them, while people who earn less take greater pleasure in their relationships and ability to connect with others. However both types did not differ on enthusiasm level. The researchers used a surveyed a sample of 1,519 people on a series of questions designed to measure their tendency to experience seven distinct emotions that are considered to make up the core of happiness: amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love and pride.
Piff believes these differences may stem from higher-income individuals’ desire for independence and self-sufficiency, while the other-oriented emotions help lower-income individuals to form more interdependent bonds with others to help cope with their more threatening environments. These findings suggest that lower-income individuals have devised ways to cope, to find meaning, joy and happiness in their lives despite their relatively less favorable circumstances.