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The Boston Globe


Uncommon Knowledge

Why gay men and straight women are friends

And other surprising insights from the social sciences

Power breeds patience

Much recent research has been devoted to “temporal discounting”—our tendency to sell out even large boons to our future selves (say, weighing less) for more immediate benefits (like being able to eat whatever we want right now). But new research from the University of Southern California suggests that one group may be better at taking the long view: the powerful. In several experiments, people who were put in a high-power state of mind put a higher value on future (relative to immediate) rewards—an effect that was explained by a greater sense of connection to one’s future self. Moreover, people who had a greater sense of power in the workplace accrued more savings, even controlling for income, subjective status, age, and sex.

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