Do Yourself a Favor: We Help Our Future Selves for the Same Reasons We Help Others

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Do Yourself a Favor: We Help Our Future Selves for the Same Reasons We Help Others

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Title: Do Yourself a Favor: We Help Our Future Selves for the Same Reasons We Help Others
Author: Burum, Bethany Anne
Citation: Burum, Bethany Anne. 2014. Do Yourself a Favor: We Help Our Future Selves for the Same Reasons We Help Others. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: As humans we have a remarkable capacity to sacrifice for the future, and an equally remarkable capacity to shortchange it, leaving our future selves to pay the price. The research in this dissertation suggests that sacrifice for the future (patience) may be governed by the same rules that govern sacrifice for others (altruism). Studies found that (1) patience was positively correlated with altruism, and (2) patience was positively correlated with empathic accuracy, a measure that predicted altruism. A third set of studies found that (3) a pervasive influence on altruism--group membership--also influenced patience. Participants who expected to switch groups in the future felt less connected to their future selves and left more than twice as much unpleasant work to the future. This research provides converging support for the hypothesis that common factors promote altruism and patience, suggesting that we may be able to draw on the decades of research studying kindness toward others to promote a little more kindness toward our future selves.
Terms of Use: This article is made available under the terms and conditions applicable to Other Posted Material, as set forth at http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:dash.current.terms-of-use#LAA
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:12274598
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