High Inequality, Low Creativity? Examining the Effects of Income Inequality on Regulatory Focus

Heather Kornblum : Psychology

Mentor: Serena Chen, Psychology

Income inequality is associated with deleterious economic, social, and health outcomes. These negative effects disproportionately affect the poor, but surface across all strata of society. Regulatory focus – being promotion or prevention focused – is the psychological mechanism that may account for these effects. Promotion focus involves living life through a lens of what one stands to gain, while prevention focus entails living life through a lens of what one stands to lose. Heather will examine income inequality’s effect on regulatory focus, shedding light on one psychological mechanism underlying the negative effects of inequality. Heather will conduct two studies; first examining the correlation between income inequality and regulatory focus on the macro level, and then, using an experimental design, examining the effect of income inequality on regulatory focus on the micro level.