People differ in how open-ended or limited they perceive their future. We argue that individual differences in future time perspective affect the activation of implicit motives. Perceiving the time remaining for the satisfaction of one’s motives as limited should be associated with a higher activation of these motives than perceiving one’s future as more open-ended. Given that future time perspective decreases across adulthood, older adults should score higher on implicit motives than younger adults. This hypothesis was supported in a study with young (n = 53, age M = 25.60 years) and older adults (n = 55, age M = 68.05 years). Additionally, an experimental manipulation of future time perspective showed that age-related differences in implicit motives are influenced by future time perspective. These findings demonstrate that future time perspective is an important factor to explain the strength of motives.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
To test for gender effects, we ran the same analyses including gender as a predictor. There was no main effect of gender, no Gender x Age effect, and no Gender x Manipulation effect on implicit motives in the current study.
As based on group comparisons of the three implicit motives after the manipulation.
Allemand, M. (2008). Age differences in forgivingness: The role of future time perspective. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 1137–1147. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2008.02.009.
Austin, J. T., & Vancouver, J. B. (1996). Goal constructs in psychology: Structure, process, and content. Psychological Bulletin, 120, 338–375. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.120.3.338.
Bernecker, K., & Job, V. (2011). Assessing implicit motives with an online version of the picture story exercise. Motivation and Emotion, 35, 251–266. doi:10.1007/S11031-010-9175-8.
Bjørnebekk, G., & Gjesme, T. (2009). Motivation and temporal distance: Effect on cognitive and affective manifestations. Psychological Reports, 105, 339–360. doi:10.2466/pr0.105.2.339-360.
Blankenship, V., & Zoota, A. L. (1998). Comparing power imagery in TATs written by hand or on the computer. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 30, 441–448. doi:10.3758/BF03200677.
Brehm, J. W., & Self, E. A. (1989). The intensity of motivation. Annual Review of Psychology, 40, 109–131. doi:10.1146/annurev.ps.40.020189.000545.
Brunstein, J. C. (2006). Implizite und explizite Motive [Implicit and explicit motives]. In J. Heckhausen & H. Heckhausen (Eds.), Motivation und Handeln (3rd ed., pp. 235–253). Berlin: Springer.
Carstensen, L. L. (1995). Evidence for a life-span theory of socioemotional selectivity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 4, 151–156. doi:10.1111/1467-8721.ep11512261.
Carstensen, L. L., & Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). Influence of HIV status and age on cognitive representations of others. Health Psychology, 17, 494. doi:10.1037/0278-6188.8.131.524.
Carstensen, L. L., Isaacowitz, D. M., & Charles, S. T. (1999). Taking time seriously. American Psychologist, 54, 165–181. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.54.3.165.
Cate, R. A., & John, O. P. (2007). Testing models of the structure and development of future time perspective: Maintaining a focus on opportunities in middle age. Psychology and Aging, 22, 186–201. doi:10.1037/0882-79184.108.40.206.
Fodor, E. M. (2010). Power motivation. In O. C. Schultheiss & J. C. Brunstein (Eds.), Implicit motives (pp. 3–29). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Förster, J., Higgins, E. T., & Idson, L. C. (1998). Approach and avoidance strength during goal attainment: Regulatory focus and the “goal looms larger” effect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1115–1131. doi:10.1037//0022-35220.127.116.115.
Franz, C. E. (1994). Does thought content change as individuals age? A longitudinal study of midlife adults. In T. F. Heatherthon & J. L. Weinberger (Eds.), Can personality change? (pp. 227–249). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Fredrickson, B. L., & Carstensen, L. L. (1990). Choosing social partners: How old age and anticipated endings make people more selective. Psychology and Aging, 5, 335. doi:10.1037/0882-7918.104.22.1685.
Fung, H. H., Carstensen, L. L., & Lutz, A. M. (1999). Influence of time on social preferences: Implications for life-span development. Psychology and Aging, 14, 595–604. doi:10.1037//0882-7922.214.171.1245.
Gawronski, B., Hofmann, W., & Wilbur, C. (2006). Are “implicit” attitudes unconscious? Consciousness and Cognition, 15, 485–499. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2005.11.007.
Gjesme, T. (1996). Future time orientation and motivation. In T. Gjesme & R. Nygård (Eds.), Advances in motivation (pp. 210–224). Oslo: Scandinavian University Press.
Job, V., Bernecker, K., & Dweck, C. S. (2012). Are implicit motives the need to feel certain affect? Motive-affect congruence predicts relationship satisfaction. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1552–1565. doi:10.1177/0146167212454920.
Johnson, R. E., & Tan, A. J. (2009). Explicit reasons for examining the implicit motive system. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2, 103–105. doi:10.1111/j.1754-9434.2008.01115.x.
Lang, F. R., & Carstensen, L. L. (2002). Time counts: Future time perspective, goals, and social relationships. Psychology and Aging, 17, 125–139. doi:10.1037//0882-79126.96.36.199.
Leiner, D. (2010). SoSci Survey (Version 2.0) [Computer Software]. Available from http://www.soscisurvey.de.
Lewin, K. (1935). A dynamic theory of personality: Selected papers. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Löckenhoff, C. E., Reed, A. E., & Maresca, S. N. (2012). Who saves the best for last? Age differences in preferences for affective sequences. Psychology and Aging, 27, 840–848. doi:10.1037/a0028747.
McAdams, A. (1992). The intimacy motive. In C. P. Smith (Ed.), Motivation and personality: Handbook of thematic content analysis (pp. 224–228). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
McClelland, D. C., Koestner, R., & Weinberger, J. (1989). How do self-attributed and implicit motives differ. Psychological Review, 96, 690–702. doi:10.1037//0033-295x.96.4.690.
McClelland, D. C., & Winter, D. G. (1969). Motivating economic achievement. New York, NY: Free Press.
Miller, N. E. (1944). Experimental studies on conflict. In J. M. Hunt (Ed.), Personality and the behavior disorders (pp. 431–465). New York, NY: Ronald Press.
Mischel, W., Grusec, J., & Masters, J. C. (1969). Effects of expected delay time on subjective value of rewards and punishments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 11, 363–373. doi:10.1037/H0027265.
Pang, J. S. (2010a). The achievement motive: A review of theory and assessment of n Achievement, hope of success, and fear of failure. In O. C. Schultheiss & J. C. Brunstein (Eds.), Implicit motives (pp. 30–70). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Pang, J. S. (2010b). Content coding methods in implicit motive assessment: Standards of measurement and best practices for the Picture Story Exercise. In O. C. Schultheiss & J. C. Brunstein (Eds.), Implicit motives (pp. 119–150). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Rheinberg, F., & Engeser, S. (2010). Motive training and motivational competence. In O. C. Schultheiss & J. C. Brunstein (Eds.), Implicit motives (pp. 510–548). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Schultheiss, O. C., & Brunstein, J. C. (2010). Implicit motives. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335156.001.0001.
Schultheiss, O. C., Liening, S. H., & Schad, D. (2008). The reliability of a Picture Story Exercise measure of implicit motives: Estimates of internal consistency, retest reliability, and ipsative stability. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 1560–1571. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2008.07.008.
Schultheiss, O. C., & Pang, J. S. (2007). Measuring implicit motives. In R. W. Robins, R. C. Fraley, & R. F. Krueger (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in personality psychology (pp. 322–344). New York, NY: Guilford.
Schultheiss, O. C., Wirth, M. M., & Stanton, S. J. (2004). Effects of affiliation and power motivation arousal on salivary progesterone and testosterone. Hormones and Behavior, 46, 592–599. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2004.07.005.
Smith, C. P., Feld, S. C., & Franz, C. E. (1992). Methodological considerations: Steps in research employing content analysis systems. In C. P. Smith (Ed.), Motivation and personality: Handbook of thematic content analysis (pp. 515–536). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Sokolowski, K., & Heckhausen, H. (2006). Soziale Bindung: Anschlussmotivation und Intimitätsmotivation [Social attachment: Affiliation motivation and intimace motivation]. In J. Heckhausen & H. Heckhausen (Eds.), Motivation und Handeln (3rd ed., pp. 193–210). Berlin: Springer.
Thrash, T. M., Cassidy, S. E., Maruskin, L. A., & Elliot, A. J. (2010). Factors that influence the relation between implicit and explicit motives: A general implicit-explicit congruence framework. In O. C. Schultheiss & J. C. Brunstein (Eds.), Implicit motives (pp. 308–346). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Trope, Y., & Liberman, N. (2003). Temporal construal. Psychological Review, 110, 403–421. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.110.3.403.
Tuerlinckx, F. De, Boeck, P., & Lens, W. (2002). Measuring needs with the thematic apperception test: A psychometric study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 448–461. doi:10.1037//0022-35188.8.131.528.
Veroff, J., Reuman, D., & Feld, S. (1984). Motives in American men and women across the adult life-span. Developmental Psychology, 20, 1142–1158. doi:10.1037/0012-16184.108.40.2062.
Winter, D. G. (1994). Manual for scoring motive imagery in running text. Department of Psychology, University of Michigan. Ann Arbor, MI: unpublished manuscript.
Wrosch, C., & Heckhausen, J. (1999). Control processes before and after passing a developmental deadline: Activation and deactivation of intimate relationship goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 415–427. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.115.
Wrosch, C., & Heckhausen, J. (2005). Being on-time or off-time: Developmental deadlines for regulating one’s own development. In A.-N. Perret-Clermont (Ed.), Thinking time: A multidisciplinary perspective on time (pp. 110–123). Cambridge, MA: Hogrefe & Huber.
This research was supported by Grant 100014_126868/1 (Project “Social Approach and Avoidance Motive—The Role of Age”) from the Swiss National Science Foundation (PIs: Jana Nikitin and Alexandra M. Freund).
This research was based on a master’s thesis by the first author that was supervised by the second and third authors.
About this article
Cite this article
Valero, D., Nikitin, J. & Freund, A.M. The effect of age and time perspective on implicit motives. Motiv Emot 39, 175–181 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-014-9453-y
- Implicit motives
- Future time perspective
- Adult age differences
- Lifespan development