The effect of age and time perspective on implicit motives

Abstract

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.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    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.

  2. 2.

    As based on group comparisons of the three implicit motives after the manipulation.

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Acknowledgments

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).

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Correspondence to Domingo Valero or Jana Nikitin or Alexandra M. Freund.

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This research was based on a master’s thesis by the first author that was supervised by the second and third authors.

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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

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Keywords

  • Implicit motives
  • Future time perspective
  • Adult age differences
  • Lifespan development