Psychological Distance and Intertemporal Choice
This study investigates the impact of taking a distant perspective (future-self or others’), relative to the present-self on time preferences. Our study uses a dynamic within-subject design consisting of a questionnaire spread over multiple dates, to make it possible to elicit several time preferences. We discuss impatience, stationarity, time invariance and time consistency. Based on construal level theory we expect to find improvements in self-control and rationality when increasing psychological distance. Using non-parametric sign-tests we observe in line with our expectations that stationarity increases when deciding from more distant perspectives. As expected, no change in time invariance is observed. Contrary to our expectations, we do not find strong evidence for the improvements of time consistency (there is some marginal evidence). The results are also supported with a regression analysis. Overall the results indicate that there are some associations between perspective taking and time preferences.