You would select less amount, if you are unsecure about your social status

Choosing money

Main Points:

Researchers found that if the people will be given the choice from one of the two options, i.e. one option of giving the same little amount to the stranger and the person, and the other option of giving the more amount than the previous one but little than the stranger, they will select the first option.

Study Further:

For example, first option is to give $10 to the person and the stranger and the second option is to give $12 to the person and $14 to the stranger, the person will go with the first option, according to the new research. According to the researchers, this would be the part of protection strategy while feeling threatened or worried about the social status.

According to Geoffrey Leonardelli, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and co-author of the paper, that choice of going with the first or little option satisfies an important psychological need.

People who select the lower monetary reward “have a reason for their behavior, and that reason is to protect themselves from low status,” Leonardelli said. He stated low status “as a low position or rank in relation to others.”

The person would think of the lower position or rank as compared to the stranger and that is the reason they select the “relative outcomes”.

“People with a security focus also tend to walk away from economic deals that suggest they have low status, even if walking away means earning less money than they could have,” said Gu, the lead author on the research.

On the other hand, people with “absolute” outcomes had a “growth” focus by selecting the more amounts.

“People with a growth focus appear to more easily move back and forth between cooperation and competition,” said Leonardelli. That’s because they have no “no special fears or concerns about their own security.”


University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management


Gu, J., Bohns, V., & Leonardelli, G. (2012). Regulatory focus and interdependent economic decision-making Journal of Experimental Social Psychology DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.11.008

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