The effects of low socioeconomic status on decision-making processes

Jennifer Sheehy-Skeffington

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Low income groups are often criticised for making decisions that harm their long-term life outcomes. This article reviews research that attempts to understand these decision-making patterns as a product of adaptive responses to the situation of low socioeconomic status. It proposes that low income contexts present socioecological cues concerning resource scarcity, environmental instability, and low subjective social status, which trigger a regulatory shift towards the present and the tuning of cognitive skills and focus to address immediate needs. These shifts in psychological processes lead to decisions that are rational in the proximal context of socioeconomic threat, but may hinder the achievement of more distal goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
StatePublished - Jun 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of low socioeconomic status on decision-making processes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this