Economic Report - How Stress Affects Mental Bandwidth

New research shows how a lack of money, food or even   (1)can affect decision making and the ability to act. In the  (2) , "Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much," Professors Sendhil Mullainathan  (3) Eldar Shafir examine the mental stress of dealing with a lack  (4) something necessary. Sendhil Mullainathan is an economist. He teaches at Harvard  (5) in Massachusetts. Eldar Shafir teaches psychology at Princeton University in New  (6) . Their research combined theories from economics and psychology to explain behaviors.  (7) two borrowed a word from digital technology to describe how thinking  (8) harmed by scarcity. They use the word, "bandwidth" to describe the  (9) of the mind to remember and plan. They say mental bandwidth  (10) when people have too little. When mental energy is divided between  (11) and planning, planning is affected. One experiment in India tested the  (12) of farmers before and after the yearly harvest. Farmers scored higher   (13) they had sold their crops. Worry over the lack of money  (14) the harvest had temporarily decreased their intelligence. The two men experienced  (15) own decreased bandwidth. They found that a lack of enough time  (16) their performance in all parts of their lives. Sendil Mullainathan was  (17) for a MacArthur Genius Award, yet he says he found himself  (18) meetings, not answering e-mails and forgetting to call his mother. Eldar  (19) says the research is meaningful for public policy. He says the  (20) of being poor or hungry or even too busy restricts the  (21) to think and act to make things better. For VOA Learning  (22), I'm Alex Villarreal.

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