Time. The notion of time is something inherent to human behavior; the pervasive understanding of temporal relations present in nature was and is crucial for our adaptation and survival as a species. Nevertheless, it is still not well defined in the literature how time is conceptualized and mapped by the brain. What we know is that phenotypic plasticity presented by our species cannot be justified only by our genetic nor corporal/linguistic experiences. Therefore, culture comes as a potential source for this variability.
Considering the culture as one of the bases that shape our conception of time and evaluating this variability across the human populations: the objective of this work is to explore one of the dimensions of temporal cognition: the capacity to travel mentally in time. We aim to assess which are the influences of remembering the past and projecting de future on decision-making, in particular in economic intertemporal choices.
We carried out two experiments with the same experimental procedures. Each participant was respectively induced to focus on one day of his/her past or future, always with a distance of fifteen years. These effects were measured through a standard questionnaire used in this field: monetary choice questionnaire (Kirby e Marakovic, 1999). This research was carried out in the Center of Mind, Brain and Behavior of the University of Granada, and the sample is composed by 80 students of the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Granada. The contrast among inducted groups indicates that manipulation of temporal focus can be an important tool to reduce the discounting rate. The observed results between the inducted groups were significant in the two experiments. These results showed a reduction of discounting when the temporal focus .............................. (better).
High discount rates have been associated with a number of risk behaviors. Thus temporal focus appears as a possible solution for the treatment and prevention on these behaviors. This project constitutes an advance in the understanding of psychological time, evidencing influences of temporal focus on our behavior.