ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (9): 1521-1533.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.01521

• Conceptual Framework •     Next Articles

How does massive information affect intertemporal choice? A theoretical perspective based on attentional resources

LI Aimei, CHE Jingshang, LIU Nan, SUN Hailong, ZHOU Wei   

  1. 1Management School, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510632, China;
    2School of Business, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou 510420, China
  • Received:2020-12-17 Online:2021-09-15 Published:2021-07-22

Abstract: People are prone to short-sighted and unable to make high-quality decisions when too little information is available. At the meantime, too much information also backfires which go against far-sighted decisions. The literature has indicated too much information expends attentional resources which are detrimental for making far-sighted choice. However, the underlying mechanism of how massive information affects intertemporal decision-making remains unclear. Based on the theoretical perspective of attentional resources, we propose that too much information exacerbate the consumption of attentional resources which leads to a preference for short-sighted choices and two reasons account for that. On the one hand, the massive information presented to us captures a lot of attention resources which lead to too little attention resources left for future relevant event. As a result, people fail to simulate and predict future accurately, and form less intention for the future. On the other hand, when there is too much information to process, people are more concerned about the urgency of the situation and are reluctant to plan for the long-term future. Meanwhile, we assume future-orientation buffers the adverse effect of massive information on intertemporal choice, by focusing individuals on long term benefits. The research shed light on how, why, and when massive information influence intertemporal choice, and provide theoretical and empirical insights for nudging foresighted decision in a massive information environment.

Key words: massive information, intertemporal choice, foresight, attentional resources theory, nudge

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