Social Psychology Tools Singled out for Measuring Time Perspectives

The choices that people make, whether they’re major decisions with the potential to have a considerable impact on daily life or are less heavily weighted, play major roles in the psychological environment, and can greatly influence mood and well-being. Efforts to understand why people make the choices they do have been central to psychology and psychotherapy for some time, and many studies have been performed in relation to the inquiry. Recently, a team of researchers at the University of Kansas published the results of a study aimed at understanding how time perceptions influence choices regarding personal health, as well as which kinds of measures are best suited to posing such questions.

The researchers found that those who were focused on the present moment were less likely to engage in exercise, and more likely to participate in risky behaviors such as drinking and smoking than their counterparts, who identified as being focused on the future. The study’s participants were asked several questions regarding their own thoughts on the importance of different points of time as well as making investments, but the researchers reported that the most productive tools in their analysis were those questions pertaining to social psychology.

Based on their data, the researchers propose that those within the medical and personal care fields, among which mental health services and psychotherapy certainly have their places, assess clients as to their individual time perspectives before designing treatment in order to tailor a more potentially successful solution. As a follow-up to their study, the team plans on investigating time perspectives in connection with environmentally conscious behaviors such as recycling, and is hopeful that more valuable information on decision-making will be yielded.

© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Tim

    Tim

    December 31st, 2009 at 12:43 PM

    Well, I am a person who lives for the present and do not care much about the future…not in a bad way but just that I do not fret or have things too planned… And know what? I like it this way rather than to be fretting and dicussing and planning things out… let things just flow… :)

  • benny

    benny

    December 31st, 2009 at 2:52 PM

    Every choice we make and every decision we make shapes who we are, defines us and gives a new direction to our lives. The choices we make in our life determines what its consequence is, and in turn what is going to happen in our life. Hence we should be very careful about what step we take at all times, as it will have a lasting effect on our future.

  • Neil

    Neil

    December 31st, 2009 at 9:15 PM

    I’d rather live for today than be bored out my skull thinking about the future. How mind numbing is that!

  • Thomas

    Thomas

    December 31st, 2009 at 9:23 PM

    Neil: That’s a typical attitude in youth. When you wake up at 50 or 60 with no money, no stability and no options because you spent your life partying and not planning, do come back and tell us how glad you are that you weren’t boring.

  • Cassie V.

    Cassie V.

    December 31st, 2009 at 9:27 PM

    Researcher Statement for students to rate –

    “I am willing to sacrifice my immediate happiness or well-being in order to achieve future outcomes.”

    What, is that a trick question they asked there? It didn’t say a positive outcome, just an outcome. The future outcomes coming whether you like it or not, college boys. good, bad or indifferent. Ha!

  • Neil

    Neil

    December 31st, 2009 at 9:37 PM

    Thomas, even if I did wake up like that at 50 or 60 I wouldn’t care. You know why? Because I’d have lived my life, not just sucked air. I could have planned for twenty years ahead and then got knocked down by a bus!

  • Thomas

    Thomas

    December 31st, 2009 at 9:40 PM

    At least if you’d planned you’d have had the insurance for the medical bills. ;)I can see I’m never going to convince you.

  • Belle

    Belle

    December 31st, 2009 at 9:50 PM

    Living in the moment doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a party animal, Thomas. It means being consciously aware of yourself and everything around you, your actions and reactions. Living in the moment is about feeling the vitality of life and not letting that pass you by. It’s hard to do actually.

  • Pearl

    Pearl

    December 31st, 2009 at 9:58 PM

    I don’t know how any of you can enjoy your life when it’s so thoughtless and dismissive about what tomorrow may bring.

  • Gabriel

    Gabriel

    December 31st, 2009 at 10:32 PM

    I don’t know how you can enjoy your life when it’s so busy looking at tomorrow it’s missed what happened today. How about we agree to disagree? :)

  • Jackie

    Jackie

    December 31st, 2009 at 10:37 PM

    Lighten up, dudes and dudettes. Were some of you guys born old? Think back to being 19 and what you were doing. How many of you can say honestly you were worrying about your stock portfolio or health insurance? C’mon, get real. You were living in the moment the same as those kids are.

  • Sugarlove

    Sugarlove

    December 31st, 2009 at 10:49 PM

    I’d be more worried about a 19 year old that wasn’t wanting to live for today and to be out smoking and drinking. That would be unnatural LOL.

    The researchers didn’t include chasing women either. That must have been a common goal for both groups.

  • A. Hewitt

    A. Hewitt

    January 1st, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    I believe in balancing… enjoy the present but do not stop planning about your fututre, have your limits in everything and think of the consequences of your actions before actually executing them.

  • gordon

    gordon

    January 1st, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    I have always believed that whatever we do, whatever decision we take, no matter how small or ing=significant it is, always has an effect on our future and the course of our life on the whole. Therefore it is important to take every step with caution and beware.

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