Counting Seconds and Cents: the Psychological Consequences of Time and Money
Friday, May 23, 2014,
4:00 PM - 5:20 PM
Time and money are two of life’s most precious resources. This session investigates promising insights into how time and money influence everyday decision making. Presenters will discuss the consequences of time and money on prosociality, and explore the relationship between money and well-being for American millionaires and Vanuatu villagers alike.
Time and money are two of life’s most precious resources. Despite the ubiquity and importance of these resources, many essential questions about time and money are just coming under the lens of psychological research. This symposium will present cutting-edge research on the psychological consequences of time and money, with an emphasis on how time and money impact prosociality and well-being. First, Donnelly will explore the relationship between wealth and well-being in a large sample of millionaires (N=2026). Donnelly’s research reveals that even among millionaires wealth is not associated with happiness—in part because millionaires expect requiring more money to obtain greater happiness. But can money buy happiness?
Aknin will present evidence to suggest that money can buy happiness when used to benefit others. Five experiments conducted in Canada, Uganda, India, South Africa and Vanuatu, support Aknin’s claim that the emotional benefits of prosocial spending constitute a psychological universal—leading to happiness for individuals around the world.
Building on research assessing the links between money and happiness, our symposium will shift its focus to prosociality. Despite being a class of activities that yield greater happiness, DeVoe will consider the question of why many people fail to spend more time engaged in such activities (e.g., volunteering). Using both field and experimental studies, DeVoe’s research shows that such activities are especially difficult to justify when people are thinking about the value of their time in monetary terms. Across five studies, exposure to common accounting and pay practices that press individuals to think about their time in monetary terms are associated with diminished time spent on volunteer activities and these effects are greatest among individuals who place a high value on the acquisition of money.
Rounding out the symposium, Whillans will show that thinking about time as money directly undermines communitarian behaviors critical for protecting the environment. Three studies utilizing national survey data and experimental research reveal the widespread tendency to think of time in monetary terms as a previously unexamined barrier to environmental behavior.
Together, the talks in this symposium will shed light on the diverse behavioral, social, and emotional consequences of time and money. In doing so, this symposium features novel empirical insights and investigates key questions: such as how does time and money impact well-being and prosocial behavior?