Title

Thinking Into the Future: How a Future Time Perspective Improves Self-Control

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-15-2019

Description

The dual motive model posits that self-control is the prioritization of distal motives over proximal motives when the two compete. A logical extension of this view is that any factor that increases the incentive value of a distal motive or decreases the incentive value of a proximal motive will make self-control more likely. Here it is proposed that time perspective, or an individual's tendency to attend to thoughts of the past, present, or future, is one factor that influences the incentive value of competing motives. Three studies were conducted to show that time perspective influences the incentive value of competing motives, and thus influences self-control. Study 1 probes correlations and indirect effects between time perspective, incentive value, and self-control. Study 2 replicates and extends study 1 by examining additional dimensions of the future time perspective. Study 3 shows that manipulating time perspective produces changes in self-control, establishing causality. The results suggest that time perspective influences the incentive value of individuals' motives and thus self-control. The results also add support to the dual motive model of self-control, since only the dual motive model predicted these relationships.

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