Debiasing and Rebiasing the Illusion of Delayed Incentive

Dilip Soman, University of Toronto, Canada
Maggie Wenjing Liu, University of Toronto, Canada
This paper studies corrective strategies for the “illusion of delayed incentives,” the phenomena that money-for-effort transactions that are unattractive in the present appear attractive when they are in the future. We show not only that people discount money and effort to different degrees, but also that the discounting of effort can be corrected. We suggest that expending effort at the time of choice debiases the excessive discounting of future effort, particularly when the current effort is of a congruent type of future effort. A range of debiasing mechanisms are described, including change of temporal construal, increase of perceived value of future effort, “no-effort” heuristic induced by fatigue, and reduction in the subjective temporal distance. We discuss the results and implications of an experiment designed to test our hypotheses.
[ to cite ]:
Dilip Soman and Maggie Wenjing Liu (2010) ,"Debiasing and Rebiasing the Illusion of Delayed Incentive", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 489-490 .