The Effect of Spatial Distance on Intertemporal Choice

[Speaker] He, Miao:1
[Co-author] He, Guibing:1, Wang, Yuan:1
1:Zhejiang University (China (People's Republic of China))

In this paper we want to investigate how spatial distance affects intertemporal choices, and compare the result with previous studies on temporal distance to examine whether spatial distance is substitutable for temporal distance. The tasks were intertemporal choices in depth-perception images or in specific contexts with different distances. Compared to the near spatial distance group, participants from the far spatial distance group were prone to choose the option that had smaller amount of money but available sooner (Study 1, 2 and 3). Moreover, the sense of control had mediating effect between spatial distance and intertemporal choices (Study 3). Therefore, people on far spatial distance are prone to choose the smaller but sooner rewards, which is inconsistent with the effect of temporal distance on intertemporal choices. This conclusion is contrary to assumes from the perspective of Psychological Distance Theory. Spatial distance is not substitutable for temporal distance.
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