What is the Scarcity Mindset?
Submitted by Kathy_Tracey on April 15, 2018 - 10:43am
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I listened to the NPR Podcast from Hidden Brain. The topic was scarcity. Harvard's behavioral economist, Sendill Mullianathan has studied this concept for decades. He began working with psychologist Eldar Sharif to study how the mind words and how a persons' mental and physical environments affect decisions. From this standpoing, they are looking at, "What happens to our minds—and our decisions—when we feel we have too little of something? Why, in the face of scarcity, do people so often make seemingly irrational, even counter-productive decisions? And if this is true in large populations, why do so few policies and programs take it into account?"
From their perspective, when a person has too little time (think of our adult learners who are often working low wage jobs with irregular shifts), then why aren't they 'better' at managing their time so they can come to class?
From the perspective of scarcity, individuals lack the 'mental bandwith' to make complex decisions as they are flooded with choices that need to be made in order to survive. From an instructional standpoint, what does this mean?
Or, is the scarcity theory one more way to blame students in poverty for 'poor decision making'?
Can you relate to any of these ideas? What do you think about these theories? I'd love to hear your thoughts.