The Effect of Sms Notifications on Time Preferences

46 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2021 Last revised: 16 Mar 2022

See all articles by Avi Israel

Avi Israel

Ben-Gurion of the Negev

Tal Shavit

Ariel University

mosi rosenboim

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


In this paper we use the SMS instant messaging application to examine the effect of notifications on time preferences. To do so we conducted a laboratory experiment with three different groups. Participants in the first (second) treatment group received SMS messages with a high (low) degree of frequency. The third group was a control group that did not receive any SMS messages. The results show that, with exposure to SMS notifications, regardless of their frequency, the tendency to favor the present increases. Although the SMS notifications affected impulsiveness and stress, they were not the factors that activated the change in time preferences. In addition to the contribution to the literature on smartphones and human behavior, our results have real-life implications regarding how we make decisions when we are interrupted by notifications from our mobile devices.

Keywords: Cognitive load, time preference, SMS interruption impulsiveness, stress

Suggested Citation

Israel, Avi and Shavit, Tal and rosenboim, mosi, The Effect of Sms Notifications on Time Preferences. Available at SSRN:

Avi Israel (Contact Author)

Ben-Gurion of the Negev ( email )


Tal Shavit

Ariel University ( email )


Mosi Rosenboim

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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