Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

Gal Zauberman


Anticipatory time (e.g., prospective duration into the future) is one of the key pieces of information to be processed in intertemporal decisions - decisions requiring a tradeoff between smaller sooner and larger delayed outcomes. Extensive research has examined human and animal perception of time as it is currently passing (i.e., experienced time) and time that has already passed (i.e., retrospective time). However, the nature of anticipatory time perception and its role in consumers’ judgment and decision making have been largely neglected. In my dissertation, I aim to demonstrate that considering subjective anticipatory time estimates offers a new perspective to understand intertemporal decisions. For this purpose, first, I propose that both diminishing sensitivity to longer time horizons (i.e., how long individuals perceive short time horizons to be relative to long time horizons) and the level of time contraction overall (i.e., how long or short individuals perceive time horizons to be overall) contribute to how much individuals discount the value of delayed outcomes, and, then, examine factors influencing intertemporal decisions by changing subjective time perception. Specifically, in the first and third essays, I demonstrate that sexually arousing images and auditory tempo (which has been shown to influence judgment of elapsed time) influence anticipatory time perception and subsequent intertemporal preferences. These results indicate that anticipatory time perception shares the property of perceptual inputs (e.g., people process anticipatory time as if they “perceive” elapsed time). In the second and fourth essays, I demonstrate that cognitive information available at the time of judging anticipatory time such as spatial distance and perceived life span influence individuals’ intertemporal preferences by changing their subjective perception of anticipatory time, which suggests that anticipatory time perception also has the property of embodied cognitions. Taken together, my dissertation incorporate both time perception research and consumer research on time-related judgment and decision making and sheds light on both domains.

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