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