Who Can Wait for the Future? A Personality Perspective

Who Can Wait for the Future? A Personality Perspective

By
Michal Kosinski, Vaishali Mahalingam, David Stillwell, John Rust, Aleksandr Kogan
Social Psychological and Personality Science. December
11, 2013, Vol. 5, Issue 5, Pages 573-583

Who can wait for larger, delayed rewards rather than smaller, immediate ones? Delay discounting (DD) measures the rate at which subjective value of an outcome decreases as the length of time to obtaining it increases. Previous work has shown that greater DD predicts negative academic, social, and health outcomes. Yet, little is known about who is likely to engage in greater or less DD. Taking a personality perspective, in a large sample (N = 5,888), we found that greater DD was predicted by low openness and conscientiousness and higher extraversion and neuroticism. Smaller amounts were also discounted more than larger amounts; furthermore, amount magnified the effects of openness and neuroticism on DD. Our findings show that personality is one predictor of individual differences in DD—an important implication for intervention approaches targeted at DD.