The study, conducted through the BBC website with over 40,000 participants, measured people's financial impulsivity by asking whether they would they prefer to receive £45 in three days or £70 in three months.
The survey asked a related series of questions about other behaviours. Nearly half of those who responded preferred the smaller-sooner sum of money, and these people were more likely to show a raft of other impulsive behaviours.
Dr Stian Reimers, ESRC Centre for Economic Learning and Social Evolution at UCL, says: "One of the big questions about people's financial planning is whether decisions to spend or save come from personal knowledge and experience of money matters or whether they reflect someone's personality more generally.
"Our research shows that people with an impulsive money-today attitude ignore the future in other ways. For example, they are more likely to smoke and more likely to be overweight, which may reflect a preference for immediate pleasure of nicotine and food over long-term good health. People who chose to take the smaller-sooner amount of money were also more likely to admit to having had an affair in recent years, suggesting another manifestation of desire for immediate gratification."
The study controlled for age, education and income, and found that those most likely to make impulsive financial choices were young, poorly educated, and on lower incomes.
Dr Reimers continues: "Given that those who decline £70 in three months in favour of £45 in three days are essentially turning down an interest rate that's hundreds of times what they'd get on the high street, this may begin to explain why some people are reluctant or unable to save money.
"Learning to make decisions that lead to long-term happiness, not just instantaneous gratification, could benefit us all. Simple techniques can help reduce impulsivity: like imagining how you'd feel about your decision in a year's time, or trying to avoid making decisions in the heat of the moment."
1. For more information or to set up an interview, please contact Dr Stian Reimers on +44 (0)20 7679 7570, mobile +44 (0)7967 974781, email email@example.com.
2. Alternatively, please contact Ruth Howells in the UCL Media Relations Office on tel: +44 (0)20 7679 9739, mobile: +44 (0)7990 675 947, out of hours +44 (0)7917 271 364, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. 'Associations between a one-shot delay discounting measure and age, income, education and real-world impulsive behaviour' by Stian Reimers, Elizabeth Maylor, Neil Stewart and Nick Chater is published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, doi:10.1016/j.paid.2009.07.026. Journalists can obtain copies of the paper by contacting the UCL Media Relations Office.
4. The study was carried out via the BBC website, which collected 42,863 participants' responses to a survey. It formed part of the SexID test (www.bbc.co.uk/sexid), a collaborative web-based project examining many aspects of cognition and behaviour.
5. The study was run by UCL and the University of Warwick.
Ruth Howells | EurekAlert!
Mathematical confirmation: Rewiring financial networks reduces systemic risk
22.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Frugal Innovations: when less is more
19.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research