X-Message-Number: 24846
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004 13:53:58 -0700
Subject: Re: Why Instant Gratification Wins
From: Kennita Watson <>


> In the study, the researchers wanted to determine why consumers behave 
> impatiently today but plan to act patiently in the future.
> For instance, it has been found that people who are offered the choice 
> of $10 today or $11 tomorrow are more likely to choose the immediate, 
> lesser amount. But if they have to choose between $10 a year from now 
> or $11 a year and a day from now, they tend to choose the longer wait 
> for the larger amount.
> This behavior contradicts classic economic theory because people are 
> inconsistent in their treatment of the day-long time delay. The 
> researchers argued that the pattern stems from the competing influence 
> of two brain systems.

For me it's not that I'm impatient, it's that I'm suspicious.  If I knew
for sure that I'd get the $11 tomorrow, I'd wait.  But if someone is
holding out $10 and saying "Take this now, or I'll come back tomorrow
and give you $11", I've had enough people change their minds or
forget or whatnot that I figure I'm better off taking my $10 and calling
it good.  However, The difference between sending out the "Due"
notice next Oct. 17 or next Oct. 18, results in little difference in the
chances I'll get my money, so I might as well wait.

The small amount also matters.  For an extra dollar, I'm not willing
to go to the trouble of finding the person to get the money (or even
of cluttering up my mental space for the extra day).  But if it were
$1000 vs. $1100, I think I'd consider that the wait is worth the $100
(and that the person would expect me to come after them for it and
so be less likely to renege, assuming they have it), even for the
now-vs.one-day case.

I wonder if my reasoning part would register as more engaged than
normal on the short-term part of this exercise.

Live long and prosper,
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
none but ourselves can free our minds.
           -- Bob Marley, "Redemption Song"


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