23 min

Why scarcity can damage decision making The Why Factor

    • History

Ayeisha Thomas-Smith discovers how when we suffer a scarcity of mental resources, we fail to plan for our futures. That means, according to Princeton psychology professor Eldar Shafir, that millions of people on low incomes where money is scarce are finding it much harder than others to improve their lives. Not because they are untalented or do not want to, but because their brain circuitry is overloaded. And the professor believes even people who are not short of money but are trying to lose weight, could also be impacted by this scarcity mindset. Ayeisha hears about experiments in the US and India which seem to show that as our mental “band-width” diminishes and we become overloaded by problems, our chances of thinking our way out of our situation reduces as well.
(Photo: An Asylum Seeker. Credit: Getty Images)

Ayeisha Thomas-Smith discovers how when we suffer a scarcity of mental resources, we fail to plan for our futures. That means, according to Princeton psychology professor Eldar Shafir, that millions of people on low incomes where money is scarce are finding it much harder than others to improve their lives. Not because they are untalented or do not want to, but because their brain circuitry is overloaded. And the professor believes even people who are not short of money but are trying to lose weight, could also be impacted by this scarcity mindset. Ayeisha hears about experiments in the US and India which seem to show that as our mental “band-width” diminishes and we become overloaded by problems, our chances of thinking our way out of our situation reduces as well.
(Photo: An Asylum Seeker. Credit: Getty Images)

23 min

Top Podcasts In History

The Rest Is History
Goalhanger Podcasts
Cautionary Tales with Tim Harford
Pushkin Industries
WW2 Pod: We Have Ways of Making You Talk
Goalhanger Podcasts
Dan Snow's History Hit
History Hit
British Scandal
Wondery
Empire
Goalhanger Podcasts

More by BBC

Just One Thing - with Michael Mosley
BBC Radio 4
Newscast
BBC News
Elis James and John Robins
BBC Radio 5 Live
Desert Island Discs
BBC Radio 4
The Martin Lewis Podcast
BBC Radio 5 Live
The Infinite Monkey Cage
BBC Radio 4