Temporal Aspects of the Self

A hallmark of being human is the ability to self-regulate one’s behavior to achieve important goals that are thought to bring about happiness.  In this line of research, we suggest that people’s beliefs about the nature of happiness — about whether happiness is cumulative versus fleeting — may play a unique role in shaping motivation and well-being.

We propose that individuals differ in the degree to which they endorse beliefs related to Delaying Happiness (DH) vs. Living in the Moment (LM). Across a series of studies, we find that people’s beliefs about DH versus LM uniquely predict how they spend their time; their affective forecasts related to goal pursuit; decision-making, well-being, and daily experiences related to these outcomes (Park, Fujita, Naragon-Gainey, Radsvick, Jung, Xia, Ward, Paravati, Weng, Italiano, & Valvo, in press) .