Future Lock-In: Future Implementation Increases Selection of 'Should' Choices

Todd Rogers, Max H. Bazerman
2007 Social Science Research Network  
People often experience tension over certain choices (e.g., they should reduce their gas consumption or increase their savings, but they do not want to). Some posit that this tension arises from the competing interests of a deliberative 'should self' and an affective 'want self'. We show that people are more likely to select choices that serve the should self (should-choices) when the choices will be implemented in the distant rather than the near future. This 'future lock-in' is demonstrated
more » ... ' is demonstrated in five experiment for shouldchoices involving donation, organizations, public policy, and self-improvement. Additionally, we show that future lock-in can arise without changing the structure of a should-choice, but just changing people's temporal focus. Finally, we provide evidence that the should self operates at a higher construal level (abstract, superordinate) than the want self, and that this difference in construal partly underlies future lock-in.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.983148 fatcat:6vv25zhi5rg67npaywctomfywa