Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hey, wait a minute! Waiting actually makes people more patient

Date:
October 1, 2013
Source:
University of Chicago Booth School of Business
Summary:
According to a recent study, waiting actually does make people more patient, which can provide a payoff for consumers by helping them make better decisions.

Let's face it -- no one likes to wait. We're a culture of instant gratification. But what if the very act we dislike can actually help make us more patient and help us make better financial decisions?

Related Articles


According to a recent study by Ayelet Fishbach, Jeffrey Breakenridge Keller Professor of Behavioral Science and Marketing at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, waiting actually does make people more patient, which can provide a payoff for consumers by helping them make better decisions.

Historically, research on patience has been approached by offering people the choice between a smaller reward sooner or a larger reward later. Given the choice between $10 now or $15 later, for instance, many people choose the $10 now, even though it makes them less well-off financially.

"People tend to value things more in the present and discount their worth in the future," Fishbach says. "But my research suggests that making people wait to make a decision can improve their patience because the process of waiting makes the reward for waiting seem more valuable."

Co-authored with former Chicago Booth postdoctoral fellow Xiani Dai, the study, titled "When Waiting to Choose Increases Patience," was published in a recent edition of the Journal of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

To test their hypothesis, the two researchers conducted a series of experiments in the U.S., mainland China and Hong Kong. In one study, the researchers invited participants to sign up to join a subject pool for online studies. In exchange for signing up, all participants were invited to enter one of two lotteries: one would pay out a $50 prize sooner; the other would pay out a $55 prize later.

The participants were divided into three groups, each having to wait a different amount of time before given their potential prize: the first group was told they could win $50 in three days or $55 in 23 days; the second could win $50 in 30 days or $55 in 50 days; and the third group was told they could win $50 in 30 days or $55 in 50 days, but they had to wait before choosing a potential reward.

Researchers contacted members of the third group 27 days later to ask for a decision, at which point the participants, like those in the first group, had to choose between waiting three days or 23 days to potentially receive a prize.

Fishbach and Dai found that in the first group only 31 percent of participants chose to wait for the larger reward. In the second group, that number rose to 56 percent. But among people in the third group, who had been waiting several weeks to make their choice, 86 percent chose to wait for the larger reward. Even though they were making the same choice as people in the first group ($50 in three days or $55 in 23 days), the fact that they had been waiting to choose increased their patience.

"When people wait, it makes them place a higher value on what they're waiting for, and that higher value makes them more patient," Fishbach says. "They see more value in what they are waiting for because of a process psychologists call self-perception -- we learn what we want and prefer by assessing our own behavior, much the same way we learn about others by observing how they behave."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Xianchi Dai, Ayelet Fishbach. When waiting to choose increases patience. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 2013; 121 (2): 256 DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2013.01.007

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Booth School of Business. "Hey, wait a minute! Waiting actually makes people more patient." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131001192200.htm>.
University of Chicago Booth School of Business. (2013, October 1). Hey, wait a minute! Waiting actually makes people more patient. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131001192200.htm
University of Chicago Booth School of Business. "Hey, wait a minute! Waiting actually makes people more patient." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131001192200.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins