What causes poverty? Some attribute poverty to poor person’s characteristic while other attributes poverty to the situation around the poor person. Reviewing previous researches, it seems that poor people are negatively influenced their cognitive capacity and decision-making style by poverty. Consequently, those deterioration worsen poverty even more. Regarding existing psychological researches, I hypothesized that poverty itself reduces poor people’s cognitive capacity, especially working memory. In the case that poor people are primed with hypothetical financial scenarios which supposedly make them stressful by preoccupying with expense in daily lives, their cognitive capacities are likely to be deteriorated even more significantly. To test my hypothesis, I designed the experimental model to test the effects of hypothetical financial on decision making. The results showed that poverty influenced participants decision making, but hypothetical scenarios did not differentiate. More researches will be necessary to investigate the relationship between poverty, hypothetical expense and decision making.


Wilhelms, Evan




Social Psychology


Decision making, socialeconomic status

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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