Pressed for Time? Goal Conflict Shapes How Time Is Perceived, Spent, and Valued

Pressed for Time? Goal Conflict Shapes How Time Is Perceived, Spent, and Valued

By
Jennifer Aaker, Jordan Etkin, Ioannis Evangelidis
Journal of Marketing Research. June
2015, Vol. 52, Issue 3, Pages 394-406

Why do consumers often feel pressed for time? This research provides a novel answer to this question: consumers’ subjective perceptions of goal conflict. The authors show that beyond the number of goals competing for consumers’ time, perceived conflict between goals makes them feel that they have less time. Five experiments demonstrate that perceiving greater conflict between goals makes people feel time constrained and that stress and anxiety drive this effect. These effects, which generalize across a variety of goals and types of conflict (both related and unrelated to demands on time), influence how consumers spend time as well as how much they are willing to pay to save time. The authors identify two simple interventions that can help consumers mitigate goal conflict’s negative effects: slow breathing and anxiety reappraisal. Together, the findings shed light on the factors that drive how consumers perceive, spend, and value their time.