Saving For the Future Self: Neural Measures of Future Self-Continuity Predict Temporal Discounting

Hal Ersner-Hershfield, Stanford University, USA
G. Elliot Wimmer , Stanford University, USA
Brian Knutson, Stanford University, USA
According to the future self-continuity hypothesis, individuals perceive and treat the future self differently from the present self, and so might fail to save for their future. Neuroimaging offers a novel means of testing this hypothesis, since previous research indicates that self- versus other-judgments elicit activation in the rostral anterior cingulate (rACC). Using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), we predicted and found not only individual differences in rACC activation while rating the current versus future self, but also that individual differences in current versus future self activation predicted temporal discounting assessed behaviorally a week after scanning.
[ to cite ]:
Hal Ersner-Hershfield, G. Elliot Wimmer , and Brian Knutson (2010) ,"Saving For the Future Self: Neural Measures of Future Self-Continuity Predict Temporal Discounting", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 246-249 .