Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Waiting actually makes people more patient, study finds

People place higher value on what they’re waiting for; higher value makes them more patient

Let’s face it – no one likes to wait. We’re a culture of instant gratification. But what if the very act we dislike can actually help make us more patient and help us make better financial decisions?

According to a recent study by Ayelet Fishbach, Jeffrey Breakenridge Keller Professor of Behavioral Science and Marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, waiting actually does make people more patient, which can provide a payoff for consumers by helping them make better decisions.

Historically, research on patience has been approached by offering people the choice between a smaller reward sooner or a larger reward later. Given the choice between $10 now or $15 later, for instance, many people choose the $10 now, even though it makes them less well-off financially.

... more about:
»financial decisions »higher value

“People tend to value things more in the present and discount their worth in the future,” Fishbach says. “But my research suggests that making people wait to make a decision can improve their patience because the process of waiting makes the reward for waiting seem more valuable.”

Co-authored with former Chicago Booth postdoctoral fellow Xiani Dai, the study, titled “When Waiting to Choose Increases Patience,” was published in a recent edition of the Journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

To test their hypothesis, the two researchers conducted a series of experiments in the U.S., mainland China and Hong Kong. In one study, the researchers invited participants to sign up to join a subject pool for online studies. In exchange for signing up, all participants were invited to enter one of two lotteries: one would pay out a $50 prize sooner; the other would pay out a $55 prize later.

The participants were divided into three groups, each having to wait a different amount of time before given their potential prize: the first group was told they could win $50 in three days or $55 in 23 days; the second could win $50 in 30 days or $55 in 50 days; and the third group was told they could win $50 in 30 days or $55 in 50 days, but they had to wait before choosing a potential reward.

Researchers contacted members of the third group 27 days later to ask for a decision, at which point the participants, like those in the first group, had to choose between waiting three days or 23 days to potentially receive a prize.

Fishbach and Dai found that in the first group only 31 percent of participants chose to wait for the larger reward. In the second group, that number rose to 56 percent. But among people in the third group, who had been waiting several weeks to make their choice, 86 percent chose to wait for the larger reward. Even though they were making the same choice as people in the first group ($50 in three days or $55 in 23 days), the fact that they had been waiting to choose increased their patience.

“When people wait, it makes them place a higher value on what they're waiting for, and that higher value makes them more patient,” Fishbach says. “They see more value in what they are waiting for because of a process psychologists call self-perception—we learn what we want and prefer by assessing our own behavior, much the same way we learn about others by observing how they behave.”

Susan Guibert | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: financial decisions higher value

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>