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《Journal of Psychological Science》 2015-02
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Time Perspective Predicts Delay Discounting

Tao Anqi;Liu Jinping;Feng Tingyong;Faculty of Psychology,Southwest University;Educational College,Henan Normal University;  
Intertemporal choice is the individual balancing of costs and benefits of decision-making process which occurred at different times. According to the perceived-time-based model, diminishing sensitivity to longer time horizons and the level of time contraction overall contribute to the degree of hyperbolic discounting. Therefore, the cognition and evaluation of time dimension is of great importance. This is called time perspective(TP). TP reflects personality difference in the dimension of time, and it is a relatively steady personality trait. However, people lay diversely emphasis on the TP framework of past, present and future. With time perspective as the personality trait, this paper explores whether there is a difference in preference for intertemporal choice between different groups divided by TP. Hence, this study hypothesizes that the time perspective may have an important effect on intertemporal choice. With a classic paradigm of the delay-discounting-task(DDT), we tested the preferences for intertemporal choice between different groups divided by time perspective. A total of 40 persons, comprising 47.5% men and 52.5% women, completed the Zimbardo Time Perspective Inventory. Only the "Present hedonistic", the "Positive past"(PP, a warm and affectionate concept of past) and the "Future" subscales were used. Based on the result of TP test, subjects were divided into two parts: future-oriented group and present hedonistic-oriented group. Then, all participants completed DDT, in which each person made a series of monetary choices between $d today or $d' in 7 day(or 15 days, 30 days). They were asked to circle either $d today or $d' in delayed day, where the percentage difference in money between the two rewards(( $d'- $d)/ $d) was selected from the set {5%, 10%, 15%, 25%, 35%, 50%, 70%, 95%}.In line with our hypothesis, the results showed that compared with the future oriented subjects, the present hedonistic-oriented subjects preferred immediate but smaller rewards to delayed but larger rewards. On the contrary, the future- oriented subjects were relatively more inclined to delay gratification. The specific findings were:(1) the delayed discounting rate of the present hedonistic-oriented group was higher than that of futureoriented group;(2) the "Future" scores that future- oriented group had gained from the TP subscale were in negative correlation with their delayed discounting rate. In conclusion, the findings indicate that time perspective is an important individual trait that should be considered as one of the affecting factors of intertemporal choice. Time perspective can influence individual preference for choices by changing the sensitivity of time horizons. As a stable personality characteristic, time perspective is able to predict individual preference for intertemporal choice. The findings not only enrich the intertemporal choice theories, but also help us further understand time perspective.
【Fund】: 国家自然科学基金面上项目(31271117);; 中央高校基本科研业务经费重大培育项目(SWU1309002);; 西南大学心理学部2012研究团队建设项目(TR201207-2)的资助
【CateGory Index】: B842
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