Skip to main content Accessibility help

Strengths, altered investment, risk management, and other elaborations on the behavioural constellation of deprivation

  • Gillian V. Pepper (a1) and Daniel Nettle (a1)


We are grateful to have received so many insightful commentaries from interested colleagues regarding our proposed behavioural constellation of deprivation (BCD) and our thoughts on its causes and consequences. In this response article, we offer some clarifications regarding our perspective and tackle some common misperceptions, including, for example, assumptions that the BCD is adaptive and that it should include all behaviours that vary with socioeconomic status. We then welcome some excellent proposals for extensions and modifications of our ideas, such as the conceptualisation of the BCD as a risk-management strategy and the calls for a greater focus on strengths and differential investment rather than deficits and disinvestment. Finally, we highlight some insightful explorations of the implications of our ideas for ethics, policy, and practice.



Hide All
Andreoni, J. & Sprenger, C. (2012) Risk preferences are not time preferences. American Economic Review 102(7):3357–76.
Baldini, R. (2015) Harsh environments and “fast” human life histories: What does the theory say? bioRxiv 14647(1):110.
Blackman, T., Harvey, J., Lawrence, M. & Simon, A. (2001) Neighbourhood renewal and health: evidence from a local case study. Health & Place 7(2):93103.
Copping, L. T., Campbell, A. & Muncer, S. (2014) Psychometrics and life history strategy: the structure and validity of the High K Strategy Scale. Evolutionary Psychology: An International Journal of Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and Behavior 12(1):200222.
Duflo, E. & Banerjee, A. (2011) Poor economics: a radical rethinking of the way to fight global poverty. Public Affairs.
Dunkel, C. S. & Decker, M. (2010) Convergent validity of measures of life-history strategy. Personality and Individual Differences 48(5):681–84.
Dunkel, C. S., Summerville, L. A, Mathes, E. W. & Kesserling, S. N. (2014) Using the California Q-sort measure of life history strategy to predict sexual behavioral outcomes. Archives of Sexual Behavior. Available at:
Ellis, B. J., Figueredo, A. J., Brumbach, B. H. & Schlomer, G. L. (2009) Fundamental dimensions of environmental risk: The impact of harsh versus unpredictable environments on the evolution and development of life history strategies. Human Nature 20(2):204–68.
Figueredo, A. J. (2007) The Arizona Life History Battery. Available at:
Figueredo, A. J., Vásquez, G., Brumbach, B. H. & Schneider, S. M. R. (2007) The K-factor, covitality, and personality. Human Nature 18(1):4773.
Frankenhuis, W. E., Gergely, G. & Watson, J. S. (2013) Infants may use contingency analysis to estimate environmental states: An evolutionary, life-history perspective. Child Development Perspectives 7(2):115–20.
Gifford, R. & Nilsson, A. (2014) Personal and social factors that influence pro-environmental concern and behaviour: A review. International Journal of Psychology 49(3):141–57.
Giosan, C. (2006) High-K strategy scale: A measure of the high-K independent criterion of fitness. Evolutionary Psychology 4:394405.
Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J. M., Delton, A. W. & Robertson, T. E. (2011b) The influence of mortality and socioeconomic status on risk and delayed rewards: A life history theory approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100(6):1015–26.
Hill, S. E., Prokosch, M. L., DelPriore, D. J., Griskevicius, V. & Kramer, A. (2016) Low childhood socioeconomic status promotes eating in the absence of energy need. Psychological Science 27(3):354–64.
Kidd, C., Palmeri, H. & Aslin, R. N. (2013) Rational snacking: Young children's decision-making on the marshmallow task is moderated by beliefs about environmental reliability. Cognition 126(1):109–14.
Pepper, G. V. & Nettle, D. (2014b) Perceived extrinsic mortality risk and reported effort in looking after health: Testing a behavioural ecological prediction. Human Nature 25(3):378–92.
Promislow, D. E. L. & Harvey, P. H. (1990) Living fast and dying young: A comparative analysis of life history variation among mammals. Journal of Zoology 220(3):417–37.
Scott-Phillips, T. C., Dickins, T. E. & West, S. A. (2011) Evolutionary theory and the ultimate-proximate distinction in the human behavioral sciences. Perspectives on Psychological Science 6(1):3847.
Stearns, S. C. (1977) The evolution of life history traits: a critique of the theory and a review of the data. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 8:145–71.
Stearns, S. C. (1992) The evolution of life histories. Oxford University Press.
Weber, B. J. & Chapman, G. B. (2005) The combined effects of risk and time on choice: Does uncertainty eliminate the immediacy effect? Does delay eliminate the certainty effect? Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 96(2):104–18.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Strengths, altered investment, risk management, and other elaborations on the behavioural constellation of deprivation

  • Gillian V. Pepper (a1) and Daniel Nettle (a1)


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.