RCL: Life History Strategies and Health-Related Behaviors in Wealthy Environmenta

The current project represents the first major attempt to develop a systematic understanding and to identify the psychological mechanisms of how people from stressful and scarce environments adapt their health-related behavior when confronted with wealthy and abundant environments. Integrating recent findings from health-related consumer behavior, social influence and psychology literatures, we propose a new theoretical framework to understand how, why, and when people who lived in stressful and scarce conditions make trade-offs in decisions related to health. Furthermore, our project is the first to suggests that growing up in an unfavorable environment can shape cognition in adaptive ways, such that the consequences for health-related decision making are sometimes detrimental and sometimes beneficial for health and wellbeing. Employing a multidisciplinary methodological toolbox, including experimental, cross-sectional, and archival studies, we provide novel insights into health consumer behavior, in addition to revisiting and extending some assumptions of the life history theory and persuasion literatures.

Furthermore, we show which policy interventions and influence tactics are most effective in consolidating and promoting healthy food choices. Exploring life history strategies and health-related behaviors in wealthy environments can alter our understanding of how people engage in health-related choices and decisions. In turn, such an understanding may have major implications and can be applied in a range of areas to solve social and policy issues. The perspective offered through the lens of life history strategies can be applied to address actual social problems, such as reducing unhealthy lifestyles and promoting wellbeing. Identifying which environmental contexts and social influence heuristics are the most effective under such conditions will provide direct implications for policy makers on how to design specific regulations and targeted public interventions, develop communication and education programs that promote health and wellbeing, as well as, provide general insights into how to encourage people to make healthier choices.

Project duration: 10 2017 – 09 2019

Budget: 100 000 EUR

Project Manager: Prof. dr. Justina Gineikienė

Project research team: Bob M. Fennis, Guido M. van Koningsbruggen, Dovile Barauskaite

Funding: Lithuanian Research Council programme "Researcher teams’ projects"