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Influence of time delay on choice between gambles: Savoring the emotion


  • Luigi Mittone


  • Lucia Savadori



In two laboratory studies involving 285 undergraduate students presented with a one-shot real choice we observe a systematic influence of time delay on the preferences for two lotteries, equal in expected value, but different in the degree of probability and outcome. The more the outcome is postponed (2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months), the more individuals prefer the lottery offering a higher value (400 Euro) but a lower probability (.02) compared to the one offering a lower value (14 Euro) but a higher probability (.60). We explain these findings assuming a savoring hypothesis according to which, for highly emotional events, individuals prefer to postpone the desirable outcome, enjoying the savoring experience of anticipating the future emotions. It also suggests that for decisions where uncertainty resolution is postponed in the future, people will underweight the probability and overweight the outcome.

Suggested Citation

  • Luigi Mittone & Lucia Savadori, 2008. "Influence of time delay on choice between gambles: Savoring the emotion," CEEL Working Papers 0802, Cognitive and Experimental Economics Laboratory, Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italia.
  • Handle: RePEc:trn:utwpce:0802

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kivetz, Ran & Simonson, Itamar, 2002. " Self-Control for the Righteous: Toward a Theory of Precommitment to Indulgence," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(2), pages 199-217, September.
    2. George F. Loewenstein, 1988. "Frames of Mind in Intertemporal Choice," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(2), pages 200-214, February.
    3. Loewenstein, George, 1987. "Anticipation and the Valuation of Delayed Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(387), pages 666-684, September.
    4. George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-597.
    5. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kocher, Martin G. & Krawczyk, Michal & van Winden, Frans, 2014. "‘Let me dream on!’ Anticipatory emotions and preference for timing in lotteries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 29-40.

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    intertemporal choice; time delay; time horizon; gambles; risk;

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