Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket

Life-History Strategies, Bet Hedging, and Diversification

Andrew Edward White, Yexin Jessica Li, Vladas Griskevicius, Steven Neuberg, Douglas Kenrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Diversification of resources is a strategy found everywhere from the level of microorganisms to that of giant Wall Street investment firms. We examine the functional nature of diversification using life-history theory-a framework for understanding how organisms navigate resource-allocation trade-offs. This framework suggests that diversification may be adaptive or maladaptive depending on one's life-history strategy and that these differences should be observed under conditions of threat. In three studies, we found that cues of mortality threat interact with one index of life-history strategy, childhood socioeconomic status (SES), to affect diversification. Among those from low-SES backgrounds, mortality threat increased preferences for diversification. However, among those from high-SES backgrounds, mortality threat had the opposite effect, inclining people to put all their eggs in one basket. The same interaction pattern emerged with a potential biomarker of life-history strategy, oxidative stress. These findings highlight when, and for whom, different diversification strategies can be advantageous.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)715-722
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

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Social Class
Mortality
Resource Allocation
Cues
Oxidative Stress
Biomarkers
Life History Traits
Hedging
Diversification
Life History
Threat
Socioeconomic Status

Keywords

  • evolutionary psychology
  • socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket : Life-History Strategies, Bet Hedging, and Diversification. / White, Andrew Edward; Li, Yexin Jessica; Griskevicius, Vladas; Neuberg, Steven; Kenrick, Douglas.

In: Psychological Science, Vol. 24, No. 5, 05.2013, p. 715-722.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

White, Andrew Edward ; Li, Yexin Jessica ; Griskevicius, Vladas ; Neuberg, Steven ; Kenrick, Douglas. / Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket : Life-History Strategies, Bet Hedging, and Diversification. In: Psychological Science. 2013 ; Vol. 24, No. 5. pp. 715-722.
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