A poorer socio-economic background can make you choose the riskier option when exposed to danger.
When faced with threat, people who grew up poor are more likely to make risky financial choices in search of a quick windfall, said research from the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management.
Vladas Griskevicius, Carlson School assistant professor of marketing, found that people respond to feeling threatened differently depending on whether people grew up in relatively resource-scarce or resource-plentiful environments.
The studies found those who grew up resource deprived or felt poor were more likely to take risks for immediate rewards when they felt threatened.
Subjects who were raised in a more predictable world never worrying about their needs responded to the same stressors by becoming more cautious.
"You can have two people who appear identical, but if they see that the world is a dangerous place such as by seeing news coverage of a new terrorist attack, they'll diverge in how they respond," Griskevicius said.
"The difference between the two people is that they had a different socio-economic experience growing up," he added.
The study "The Influence of Mortality and Socioeconomic Status on Risk and Delayed Rewards: A Life History Approach" was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.