J. van der Pligt
- Time is on my side: optimism in intertemporal choice
- Acta Psychologica
- Volume | Issue number
- 108 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The present research, using data from 163 undergraduates, examines the role of optimism on time preferences for both losses and gains. It is argued that optimism has asymmetric effects on time preferences for gains versus losses: one reason why decision makers prefer immediate gains is because they are optimistic that these gains will be followed by additional gains in future. In contrast, decision makers prefer to delay losses because they are optimistic that losses are avoidable in the future. Optimism about outcomes affects time preferences for both gains and losses, such that low optimism reduces the discount rates while increased optimism is associated with higher discount rates. This prediction was supported in two different domains: monetary outcomes (Study 1), and health (Study 2). Implications of these results for both research practice and time preferences in the real world are discussed.
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