When Time Has a Will of its Own, the Powerless Don't Have the Will to Wait: Anthropomorphism of Time Can Decrease Patience

64 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2013

See all articles by Frank May

Frank May

University of South Carolina

Ashwani Monga

University of South Carolina

Date Written: July 30, 2013

Abstract

This article introduces time anthropomorphism: a tendency to attribute time with humanlike mental states (e.g., time has a will of its own). This tendency, which varies across individuals and may also be induced, changes patience (e.g., for regular over expedited shipping). Specifically, time anthropomorphism reduces patience for low-power (but not high-power) individuals because anthropomorphism makes the aversive force of wait time seem more potent (i.e., more aversive) to those who feel less potent themselves (i.e., low-power individuals). In a field study with real money at stake, and four experiments, we verify the effect on patience and confirm the process via both mediation (i.e., the effect is mediated by how aversively time is perceived) and moderation (i.e., the effect reverses when time is made to seem beneficent). Thus, we introduce time as a consequential anthropomorphic entity, present novel effects on intertemporal preferences, and delineate a potency process for power.

Keywords: Time, Power, Anthropomorphism, Patience, Intertemporal decisions

JEL Classification: M31

Suggested Citation

May, Frank and Monga, Ashwani, When Time Has a Will of its Own, the Powerless Don't Have the Will to Wait: Anthropomorphism of Time Can Decrease Patience (July 30, 2013). Journal of Consumer Research, 2014, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2303861

Frank May (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

Ashwani Monga

University of South Carolina ( email )

United States
803-777-5918 (Phone)

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