The therapy of scarcity

The therapy of scarcity

Princeton psychologist Eldar Shafir explores just how deprivation wreaks havoc on cognition and decision-making.

Being poor requires so much energy that is mental individuals with restricted means — be they sugarcane farmers in Asia or nj-new jersey mall-goers — are more likely to make errors and bad choices compared to those with larger monetary cushions.

This is basically the therapy of scarcity, states Princeton University therapy and general public affairs teacher Eldar Shafir, PhD, whom with Harvard University economist Sendhil Mullainathan, PhD, explores just just how individuals minds are less efficient if they feel they lack something — whether it’s cash, time, calories if not companionship.

This scarcity mind-set uses just what Shafir calls bandwidth that is”mental — brainpower that could otherwise head to less pressing issues, thinking ahead and problem-solving. This starvation may cause a life consumed by preoccupations that impose ongoing intellectual deficits and reinforce self-defeating actions.