Psych question

Is there a term for this phenomenon:

A person who claims that a “poor” lifestyle is somehow fundamentally better than a more middle class one even if cost is not an object.

A person who would consistently take a chuck steak over a filet mignon. Claiming that the chuck steak is “better” than all that fancy weird french stuff.

I don’t want that armani custom tailored suit because heres this great lime green polyester one right here.

Kinda sounds like a variation on the beverley hillbilies.

I am wondering if it is some kind of compensatory mechanism to avoid facing/dealing a lack of financial success, since they can always afford the cheap stuff, but the fancy stuff can only be obtained consistently by obtaining a better income.


Aesop called it ‘sour grapes’.

Well, a person that chooses to be frugal in the manner you describe probably wouldn’t be diagnosed with any type of psychiatric disorder. They would just be diagnosed with frugality.

It may be annoying behaviour, but it’s not disordered behaviour.

Now, if the person was starving themselves, or refusing to wear an overcoat in winter potentially they would be diagnosed with a disorder.

Interestingly enough a Google of “sour grapes” yeilded this interestingly relevant to bit

I am not so much looking at it as a disorder, but why someone would seek comfort in a “sour grapes” type of mindset. Turning the bad thing into the good thing.

If you don’t have a lot of money, and if other people have tried to shame you about it, you might very well come to despise anything that symbolises or is associated with rich people and snobbiness. It might be subconscious, or it could be a deliberate rebellion. There might be some bitterness about it, or there might be a real pride in being a hard worker who doesn’t get paid enough, and who gets by just fine without Armani suits and two Beemers in the garage and cheap cuts of meat on the table.

In other words, it’s rebellion against the attitude that being rich is necessarily ‘better’ than being average. If you’ve got the necessities (food, clothes, shelter, health, education), you have as much of a chance of being happy as someone who has a lot more money to burn. Money can’t buy happiness, beyond that point.

Some additional digging after a phone call from Cyn

Could be considered a type of “reaction formation defense mechanism”

since cost is not a problem i’ll simply call it frugality instead of sour grapes, especially since the examples listed above can suitably list the fancy stuff as luxury items.

can you really fault a person for not getting that armani custom tailored suit when that same amount of money can feed an army of children in the poorer part of town? (irregardless of whether he keeps or donate that money)

this is especially true when applied to children, since there’s already a term for it - ‘born with a silver spoon’ (or something like that…)

Well, there’s also the mind set that views filet mignon and Armani suits as a horrible waste of money.

Just because it’s more expensive, doesn’t make it better and all that.

Personally, I can see spending $900 on a pair of boots, just because I like them. Many people would consider THAT to be disordered.

such a thing exists? :dubious:

No the individual in question claims that such things are not as “desireable” as his things and that everyone else is weird for thinking that hamburger helper is not the latest gourmet cuising.

:eek: :confused:

I like hamburger helper too but in his “world” he has tons of cash to blow and ground beef is the best part of the cow. So why buy anything else.

You’ll just have to trust me on the fact that this guy doesn’t give a damn about the poor kids down the street.

Too busy bein a “playa”
Talkin bout how he got “game”

Any anything nice anyone has in their life is “undesireable”
Anything he has is the best in existence.

Its kinda hard to describe, its hard to type in gestures, body language, and attitude.

He also has a rather blatant mysoginist streak but that could be another thread.

For our next thread we can address Drachillix’s typing disorder.:smack:

That’s the Norwegean Bachelor Farmer syndrome!

Sounds a bit like a narcissistic personality. If so, run away. They never get therapy, but everyone else around them ends up needing it.

I’ve heard this called “sour grapes,” “reaction formation defense mechanism,” or “adaptive preference formation.” The more typical examples of this as a psychological phenomenon are Stockholm Syndrome (where hostages come to love their captors) and the institutionalization of “lifers.” It’s a mechanism of reducing cognitive dissonance whereby the individual adjusts his or her desires in reaction to the possibility of achieving them.

Of course, there’s a significant danger in asserting that someone else is suffering from sour grapes or any kind of false consciousness. It requires hypothesizing how a person would make choices in the abstract, devoid of their persona and experiences. But how can disembodied entities say that A is better than B? The risk is that the person positing adaptive preference formation in others is really just forcing his or her own preferences/worldview/cultural biases on others (e.g., the Conquistadores “converting” the “heathen natives” to Christianity).

So generally, I’m less inclined to be suspect of persons claiming that others are suffering from adaptive preference formation when the asserted cause is some sort of external coercion. Stockholm Syndrome is the paradigmatic example. When you start getting into relative degrees of income, or just how a person was raised (“country music sucks!”), then your claims are more dubious.

As sure as I’ve got a pair on my feet right now.

<…Ummmm, Franco Sarto…>

Anyhow - now I understand the question better. As opposed to being frugal, the person in question really belives that a pair of nasty, plastic K-Mart boots are better than my beautiful, soft, supple Franco Sartos.

Yep - he’s a nutter. :smiley:

Seriously, I think that Mr. Hand got it right - it’s an attempt to reduce cognitive disonance. It’s a fairly well understood sociological phenomenon (Well, at least my Social Psych prof thought so.)

There is no specific psychological term for the condition you describe, at least not as far as I know. If anything, excessive frugality (if that’s what this is) and a different idea of what is valuable might be a symptom of a disorder.

He could just be cheap.
He could just not like or desire the same things everyone else does.
He might just hold unpopular viewpoints.

Not every unusual behavior or outlook is indicative of a psychological disorder.

By itself, excessive frugality may not be a full-blown disorder.

But it is probably associated with neurotic defence mechanisms. Such behaviour certainly would, in my mind, raise the possibility of obsessive-compulsive or passive-agressive personality types. But by itself, not enough.

Whoa now… If you don’t buy into the more elitist aspects of consumerism you have a mental disorder?

I have my own term… “down to earth.”

Inverted snobbery.