Do We Give More of Our Present Selves Or Our Future Selves? Psychological Distance and Prosocial Decision Making

Kathleen Kennedy, Princeton University, USA
Christopher Olivola, Princeton University, USA
Emily Pronin, Princeton University, USA
Four studies investigated individuals' charitable behavior in different situations (volunteering to tutor, donating money, drinking a disgusting liquid to help a researcher, or receiving emails to help charity) when making decisions for present selves, future selves, and others. Individuals' greater focus on internal subjective experiences when deciding for the present self led them to choose differently for present selves, compared to future selves or others. When individuals' subjective experience focused on the benefits of helping, they were more generous on behalf of present selves than future selves and others; when focused on the costs of helping, the reverse was true.
[ to cite ]:
Kathleen Kennedy, Christopher Olivola, and Emily Pronin (2009) ,"Do We Give More of Our Present Selves Or Our Future Selves? Psychological Distance and Prosocial Decision Making", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 190-194.