Science!: Ants and Monkeys

Lauren Admire | 28 Dec 2009 17:00

Health is Your Future!

Researchers at Kansas State University have found that people who are future-minded tend to make more positive decisions about their health than those who focus more on the present. Whether it comes to denying yourself that mid-break cigarette or drinking one fewer beer a day,if you're focusing on the future, you're more likely to make the smarter choice. If you are more present-minded, you may not deny yourself that Appletini, since you're more likely to be thinking that another drink will give you that nice buzz you've been craving, and not how it may contribute to liver disease. If you're future-minded, you're more likely to take care of your body and mind in the present, since you realize that each decision will contribute to your health in the future.

Participants in a study were asked if they would prefer $35 today or $45 in 35 days, as well as other questions that gauged their tendencies to think in the future or the present. The participants then took surveys that posed questions such as how often they smoked, exercised, as well as about their concerns on health issues like high cholesterol and AIDS.

Researchers found that subjects who gave future-minded answers were more likely to report healthier behaviors in the survey. Gary Brase, associate professor of psychology at Kansas State University claims, "There is a lot of potential for helping people make better health decisions. People who tend to have a very present-minded perspective will have an easier time following through with a change if they can see rewards sooner. So if somebody goes into a weight loss center, the clinicians could measure a client's time perspective. Then the clinicians would know the more effective way of helping the client reach his or her weight loss goal."

In further research, Brase and James Daugherty stated they would like to see how present-mindedness and future-mindedness contributed to environmentally responsible behaviors such as recycling.

Source: Science Daily

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