October 07, 2010
Thinking About Time Or Money

People who think about time decide to socialize more while people who think about money want to work more.

Does thinking about time or money make you happier? A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that people who are made to think about time plan to spend more of their time with the people in their lives while people who think about money fill their schedules with work, work, and—you guessed it—more work. 

To find out how thinking about time or money makes people feel, Cassie Mogilner of the University of Pennsylvania designed an experiment, carried out online with adults from all over the United States, in which they concentrated on money or time. In this experiment, volunteers were asked to unscramble a series of sentences. Some participants were presented with sentences containing words related to time (e.g., “clock” and “day”), whereas others’ sentences contained words related to money (e.g., “wealth” and “dollar”). Next all participants were asked how they planned to spend their next 24 hours. The ones who had been primed to think about time planned to spend more time socializing. People who’d been primed to think about money planned to spend more time working. 

Can one motivate oneself to work harder by putting money cues in one's environment? Say, a dollar bill in a picture frame on a shelf? I am interested in the more general topic of how to construct one's personal environment to cause one to behave more to one's liking. Have any interesting tricks for motivating yourself?

Poor people did not react the same way.

She also carried out the experiment on low-income people and found that having them think about time had the same effect, but having them think about money did not. This may mean that low-income people already live concerned about and, therefore, highly focused on money, Mogilner speculates.

Another interpretation: For some their poverty is caused by less desire to work. They are not easily motivated to work. Another similar possibility: Poor people feel too inefficacious and do not think they can raise their living standards by working harder.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2010 October 07 10:08 PM  Brain Economics

PacRim Jim said at October 7, 2010 11:44 PM:

I know some professional girls who multitask: They think about time and money.

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