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Space, Time, and Intertemporal Preferences

B. Kyu Kim, Gal Zauberman and James R. Bettman
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 39, No. 4 (December 2012), pp. 867-880
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/666464
Stable URL:
Page Count: 14
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Space, Time, and Intertemporal Preferences
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Although subjective judgment of future time plays an important role in a variety of decisions, little is known about the factors that influence such judgments and their implications. Based on a time as distance metaphor and its associated conceptual mapping between space and time, this article demonstrates that spatial distance influences judgment of future time. Participants who consider a longer spatial distance judge the same future time to be longer than those considering a shorter distance. Intertemporal preferences, for which judgment of future delays is a critical factor, also shift with consideration of spatial distance: participants who consider a longer spatial distance also reveal a greater degree of impatience in intertemporal decisions as they perceive a longer delay to future rewards. The current findings support the importance of subjective judgment of future time in intertemporal preferences by introducing a factor that changes time perception without directly changing the value of outcomes.

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