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!
The RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index started off well in 2018
22.02.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
RWI/ISL-Container Throughput Index ending 2017 on a positive note
24.01.2018 | RWI – Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy