Title

Can I Make You Feel Poor? The Influence of Economic Threat

Presenter Information

Ashley-Lauren BarrettFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Psychology

2nd Student Major

Sociology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Jana Hackathorn, PhD.

Presentation Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Description

Past studies have shown that worsening economic conditions are related to voting for harsher social policies (Rickert, 1998), increased prejudice (Butz & Yogeeswaran, 2011), superstitious behaviors (Padgett & Jorgenson, 1982) and financial risk taking (Wohl et al., 2014). The current study examines the emotional and behavioral effects following an economic threat. Participants are randomly assigned to be exposed to an economic threat (i.e., reminded of the possibility for a poor financial future) or not, and various outcomes were measured. We hypothesized that economically threatened individuals will report higher feelings of financial threat and desperation than the control group. Additionally, the economic threat condition will choose to spend money on more negative/irresponsible items (e.g., lottery tickets, junk food) than positive items/responsible items (e.g., tuition, savings, rent). Moreover, we expect that the ratio of negative to positive items will be larger for the economic threat condition than the control condition. Lastly, we will examine other potential predictors or mediators of the effects of economic threat onto desperation and/or poor financial choices, such as self-control, delay of gratification skills, past gambling behaviors, and financial well-being. Data is currently being collected.

Keywords: economic threat, desperation, financial well-being, financial risk-taking

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Psychology: Projects In-Progress

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Can I Make You Feel Poor? The Influence of Economic Threat

Past studies have shown that worsening economic conditions are related to voting for harsher social policies (Rickert, 1998), increased prejudice (Butz & Yogeeswaran, 2011), superstitious behaviors (Padgett & Jorgenson, 1982) and financial risk taking (Wohl et al., 2014). The current study examines the emotional and behavioral effects following an economic threat. Participants are randomly assigned to be exposed to an economic threat (i.e., reminded of the possibility for a poor financial future) or not, and various outcomes were measured. We hypothesized that economically threatened individuals will report higher feelings of financial threat and desperation than the control group. Additionally, the economic threat condition will choose to spend money on more negative/irresponsible items (e.g., lottery tickets, junk food) than positive items/responsible items (e.g., tuition, savings, rent). Moreover, we expect that the ratio of negative to positive items will be larger for the economic threat condition than the control condition. Lastly, we will examine other potential predictors or mediators of the effects of economic threat onto desperation and/or poor financial choices, such as self-control, delay of gratification skills, past gambling behaviors, and financial well-being. Data is currently being collected.

Keywords: economic threat, desperation, financial well-being, financial risk-taking