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Why Scarcity Can Damage Decision Making

Ayeisha Thomas-Smith discovers how when our brain circuitry becomes overloaded we fail to plan for our futures, trapping millions of people with scarce resources in poverty.

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)

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