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The value of money: on how childhood economic resources influence value assessments later in life

Journal article
Authors Gró Einarsdóttir
André Hansla
Lars-Olof Johansson
Published in Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology
Volume 3
Issue 1
Pages 79-101
ISSN 2374-3611
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 79-101
Language en
Keywords childhood poverty, context effects, evolutionary developmental psychology, scarcity, Valuation
Subject categories Psychology


We know that unlike Homo economicus, Homo sapiens is often influenced by allegedly irrelevant contextual cues when assessing value. However, only recently have individual differences in susceptibility to context effects been studied. We propose that individuals who grow up poor develop contextualized skills that protect them from blowing their budget and argue that stable value assessment is such a skill. We test this claim using six experimental paradigms of value assessments with ca. 1400 participants. We hypothesized that contextual cues have a stronger influence on the valuations made by the past rich compared to the past poor. Further, the theoretical foundation of this paper is based on two lines of influential research that have been criticized on methodological grounds. We therefore preregistered our study, improved interaction testing, and tested the replicability of previous findings. The results showed only anecdotal evidence that the past poor made more consistent valuations. Even though the past poor don’t seem to have a generalized ability for consistent valuations, we encourage a continued search for more specific and ecologically relevant skills essential for good money management that may have developed as a response to growing up poor. © 2018, © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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