ArticlePDF Available


There are many apparent reasons why people engage in activity, such as to earn money, to become famous, or to advance science. In this report, however, we suggest a potentially deeper reason: People dread idleness, yet they need a reason to be busy. Accordingly, we show in two experiments that without a justification, people choose to be idle; that even a specious justification can motivate people to be busy; and that people who are busy are happier than people who are idle. Curiously, this last effect is true even if people are forced to be busy. Our research suggests that many purported goals that people pursue may be merely justifications to keep themselves busy.
Psychological Science
21(7) 926 –930
© The Author(s) 2010
Reprints and permission:
DOI: 10.1177/0956797610374738
Why do investors trade stocks? Why do scientists make dis-
coveries? Why do gangsters fight each other? Why do nations
wage wars? And . . . why do we write papers? There are many
apparent reasons for activity. In the case of these examples,
possible reasons include the following: to make money, to
accrue fame, to protect one’s territory, and to advance science.
In this research, however, we suggest a potentially deeper rea-
son for these and myriad other activities: People dread idle-
ness, and their professed reasons for activity may be mere
justifications for keeping busy. Specifically, we propose that
people have two concurrent, yet paradoxical and conflicting,
desires: They (a) dread idleness and desire busyness, but
(b) need reasons for their busyness and will not voluntarily
choose busyness without some justification.
The notion that people dread idleness and desire busyness
is consistent with several existing lines of research, including
research showing that people dread boredom (e.g., Csikszent-
mihalyi, 2000; Fahlman, Mercer, Gaskovski, Eastwood, &
Eastwood, 2009; Mikulas & Vodanovich, 1993; Smith, 1981),
that waiting is aversive (e.g., Larson, 1987; Robbins, 1978),
that work is perceived as virtuous (e.g., Furham, 1982; Mer-
rens & Garrett, 1975; Neff, 2006), that labor leads to apprecia-
tion (Norton, 2009), and that people seek varied experiences
(e.g., Zuckerman, 1994).
The idea that people desire justification for busyness is
rooted in the general finding that people are rational animals
and seek to base their decisions on reasons (e.g., Hsee, 1996;
Hsee, Yu, Zhang, & Xi, 2003; Kivetz & Simonson, 2002;
Kivetz & Zheng, 2006; Kunda, 1990; Shafir, Simonson, &
Tversky, 1993; see Xu & Schwarz, 2009, for boundaries).
Often, people do have some reason for action. They work to
earn salaries and exercise to improve health. It is silly to exert
effort without purpose.1
Our proposition―that people desire busyness yet are reluc-
tant to seek busyness without reason―is too general to be
tested in a few experiments. The experiments reported here
tested two somewhat more specific hypotheses, one about
choice and one about experience, that were derived from our
initial proposition:
Hypothesis 1 concerns choice and states that any
reason―even a specious justification―can mobilize
idle people to seek busyness. In other words, when
given a choice between busyness and idleness, more
people will choose busyness if there is a justifica-
tion than if there is not, even if the justification is
Hypothesis 2 concerns experience. Because people
prefer busyness, we hypothesize that those who are
busy are happier than those who are idle. We believe
that the preference for busyness can be so strong that
Corresponding Author:
Christopher K. Hsee, University of Chicago, Booth School of Business, 5807
S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, IL 60637
Idleness Aversion and the Need for
Justifiable Busyness
Christopher K. Hsee1, Adelle X. Yang1, and Liangyan Wang2
1Booth School of Business, University of Chicago, and 2Antai School of Management, Shanghai Jiaotong University
There are many apparent reasons why people engage in activity, such as to earn money, to become famous, or to advance
science. In this report, however, we suggest a potentially deeper reason: People dread idleness, yet they need a reason to be
busy. Accordingly, we show in two experiments that without a justification, people choose to be idle; that even a specious
justification can motivate people to be busy; and that people who are busy are happier than people who are idle. Curiously, this
last effect is true even if people are forced to be busy. Our research suggests that many purported goals that people pursue
may be merely justifications to keep themselves busy.
idleness aversion, happiness, motivation, justification
Received 5/23/09; Revision accepted 12/14/09
Research Report
Need for Justifiable Busyness 927
even people who are forced (assigned) to be busy
are happier than those who are idle. In other words,
busy people are happier than idle people, regardless
of whether they choose to be busy or are forced to
be busy.
These hypotheses were tested in the following experiments.
Experiment 1
Participants (98 college students from a large public univer-
sity) were told that their task was to fill out multiple confiden-
tial surveys about their school and that they could do nothing
else during the experiment. After leaving their belongings
(e.g., cell phones, books) with the experimenter, participants
were given the first survey. Upon finishing, they were told that
the second survey would not be ready for another 15 min and
that they were to drop their completed first survey at a desig-
nated location during the waiting period. There were two such
locations, one nearby (right outside the room) and the other far
away (a 12- to 15-min round-trip walk). Participants could
either deliver the survey to the nearby location and wait out
the remaining time (the idle option) or deliver the survey to the
faraway location, return, and then wait out the remaining time
(the busy option). In both cases, they would receive a piece of
candy when they dropped off the survey, as a token of
The experiment consisted of two between-participants con-
ditions: same-candy and different-candy. In the same-candy
condition, the candies offered at the two locations were identi-
cal: In both locations, participants could choose either a milk
chocolate or a dark chocolate.
In the different-candy condition, the candies offered at the
two locations were different: At one location, only milk
chocolates were offered; at the other location, only dark choc-
olates were offered. Which type of chocolate was offered
at which location was counterbalanced, and pretesting indi-
cated that the two types of candies were equally attractive,
χ2(1, N = 28) = 0.14, n.s. Furthermore, to prevent participants
from making any inference about the quality of the candy
based on the location at which it was offered, we told them that
the candy offered at each location was randomly decided.
Note that the same-candy condition offered no justification
for walking to the farther location. The walk to the faraway
location in this condition would seem foolish, as in either loca-
tion one could choose either the milk or the dark chocolate. By
contrast, the different-candy condition offered a sound justifi-
cation for walking to the faraway location, because one could
say, “I prefer the candy there,” even though the two candies
were prejudged as equally attractive and counterbalanced.
At the end of the 15-min period, all participants were given
a questionnaire that asked, “How good did you feel in the last
15 minutes?” Responses were made on a scale from 1 (not
good at all) to 5 (very good).2 Participants were then debriefed
and dismissed.
Results and discussion
The experiment included two dependent variables: choice
(nearby or faraway location) and experience (feelings during
the 15 min).
Choice. Participants’ choices confirmed Hypothesis 1: More
participants chose the busy (faraway) option in the different-
candy condition than in the same-candy condition, χ2(1, N =
98) = 7.13, p < .01 (see Table 1). Further analyses revealed that
in the same-candy condition, less than 50% of the respondents
went to the faraway location, χ2(1, N = 47) = 12.96, p < .001,
yet in the different-candy condition, more than 50% did, χ2(1,
N = 47) = 3.24, p = .07. It should be noted that the increased
choice of the faraway location in the different-candy condition
cannot be attributed to the uncertainty of the quality of the
candies at the two locations, because this uncertainty cannot
explain why more than 50% of the participants chose the far-
away location (see the appendix).
Experience. Participants’ ratings of their feelings confirmed
Hypothesis 2: Busy participants (who walked to the faraway
location) reported greater happiness than idle participants
(who chose the nearby location and waited afterward), and this
was true in both the same-candy condition, t(49) = 3.23, p <
.01, and the different-candy condition, t(45) = 3.83, p < .01
(see Table 1). These results constitute an interesting inconsis-
tency between choice and experience: When given a choice,
most individuals in the same-candy condition chose the nearby
location, yet those who went farther ended up being happier.
Table 1. Results of Experiment 1
Choice: participants who chose
the faraway (busy) option (%)
Participants who chose
the faraway option
Participants who chose
the nearby option
Same-candy (no justification) 32 4.07 2.72
Different-candy (justification) 59 3.87 2.81
Note: Happiness was rated on a scale from 1 (not good at all) to 5 (very good).
928 Hsee et al.
Was this inconsistency due to misprediction (i.e., underes-
timation of the joy of walking or the pain of waiting)? To
address this question, we described the experimental proce-
dure to another group of participants (N = 52) and asked them
to predict whether dropping the survey in the faraway location
or in the nearby location would generate greater happiness
during the 15-min period. Most (64%) accurately predicted
that going to the faraway location would result in greater hap-
piness, χ2(1, N = 52) = 19.07, p < .001. This result rules out
misprediction as an alternative explanation for our finding.
It seems that people know that busyness yields happiness,
but if they lack justification for busyness, they will choose
idleness. This inconsistency between predicted experience and
choice reflects people’s desire to base decisions on rules and
reasons rather than on feelings; similar inconsistencies have been
documented elsewhere (e.g., Arkes & Blumer, 1985; Hsee
et al., 2003; Hsee, Yang, Gu, & Chen, 2009).
One may also wonder if the increased happiness among
participants who traveled to the faraway location was due to
postchoice cognitive dissonance. However, postchoice cogni-
tive dissonance cannot explain why participants in the follow-
up prediction condition also expected greater happiness from
traveling to the faraway location, nor can it explain the results
of Experiment 2—that people who were forced to travel to the
faraway location also reported greater happiness.
Experiment 2
Experiment 1 demonstrated that people who voluntarily
choose busyness are happier than those who voluntarily
choose idleness. Experiment 2 was designed to demonstrate
that people who are forced into busyness are happier than
those who are forced into idleness.
Participants (54 college students from a large public univer-
sity) were assigned to either a forced-nearby (idle) condition
or a forced-faraway (busy) condition. The procedure in both
conditions was identical to the procedure in the same-candy
condition of Experiment 1, except that participants were
instructed as to which of the two locations they should walk to.
That is, in the forced-nearby condition, participants were sim-
ply instructed to deliver the survey to the nearby location and
wait; in the forced-faraway condition, participants were
instructed to deliver the survey to the faraway location, return,
and wait. Neither group had a choice. At the end of the 15-min
period, participants answered the same question about their
feelings as in Experiment 1.
Results and discussion
Results confirmed Hypothesis 2: Participants in the forced-
faraway (busy) condition reported greater happiness (M = 4.01)
than those in the forced-nearby (idle) condition (M = 2.36),
t(52) = 5.00, p < .001. A comparison with the results in the
same-candy condition of Experiment 1 revealed an intriguing
pattern: In Experiment 1, in which participants could choose
between idleness and busyness, most chose idleness, yet in
Experiment 2, in which there was no choice, participants
forced into busyness reported greater happiness than those
who were idle. These findings corroborate accumulating evi-
dence suggesting that people do not always choose what is
best for their welfare (e.g., Benartzi & Thaler, 2004; Hsee,
Hastie, & Chen, 2008; Thaler & Sunstein, 2008).
General Discussion
Replication of findings
Across two experiments, we demonstrated that people choose
to be idle if they do not have reason to be busy, but that even a
specious justification can prompt them to seek busyness. In
addition, people are happier when busy than when idle, even if
busyness is forced upon them.
We replicated these findings in another context. In a bracelet-
evaluation experiment, participants were given a premade
bracelet and asked to wait 15 min, during which time they
could either do nothing (the idle option) or disassemble and
reassemble the bracelet (the busy option). Some participants
were told that if they disassembled the bracelet, they had to
reassemble it into the original design. Others were told that if
they disassembled the bracelet they had to reassemble it into a
different design; pretests indicated that the second design was
just as attractive as the original design, and participants were
told that the two designs were equally useful for the experi-
ment. Notice that the same-design condition in this experiment
resembled the same-candy condition in Experiment 1 and pro-
vided no justification for participants’ reassembly of the brace-
let, and that the different-design condition resembled the
different-candy condition in Experiment 1 and provided a jus-
tification for participants’ reassembly of the bracelet. Again,
results supported Hypothesis 1: Most participants in the same-
design condition chose to sit idly, and most in the different-
design condition chose to reassemble the bracelet. Results also
supported Hypothesis 2: Participants who reassembled the
bracelet reported greater happiness. Together, these findings
replicated the findings reported earlier and reinforced our
proposition that humans concurrently desire both busyness
and a justification for busyness.
We speculate that the concurrent desires for busyness and for
justification are rooted in evolution. In their strife for survival,
human ancestors had to conserve energy to compete for scarce
resources; expending energy without purpose could have jeop-
ardized survival. With modern means of production, however,
most people today no longer expend much energy on basic
survival needs, so they have excessive energy, which they like
Need for Justifiable Busyness 929
to release through action. Yet the long-formed tendency to
conserve energy lingers, making people wary of expending
effort without purpose.
Our research also complements recent research by Ariely,
Kamenica, and Prelec (2008) on humans’ search for meaning.
Whereas the work of Ariely and his colleagues suggests that
people work in order to search for meaning (i.e., achievement
and recognition), our study suggests that people search for
meaning in order to work. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus’ pun-
ishment, imposed by Zeus, was to eternally roll a rock toward
the top of a hill, never to arrive there. The research of Ariely
et al. predicts that Sisyphus would have been happier if Zeus
had allowed the rock to reach the top of the hill and had then
recognized Sisyphus’ achievement. Our research suggests that
Sisyphus was better off with his punishment than he would
have been with a punishment of an eternity of doing nothing,
and that he might have chosen rolling a rock over idleness if he
had been given a slight reason for doing it.
Idleness is potentially malignant. If idle people remain idle, they
are miserable. If idle people become busy, they will be happier,
but the outcome may or may not be desirable, depending on the
value of the chosen activity. Busyness can be either constructive
or destructive. Ideally, idle people should devote their energy to
constructive courses, but it is often difficult to predict which
actions are constructive (e.g., are business investments or scien-
tific discoveries always constructive?), and not every idle indi-
vidual is capable of constructive contributions. Idle people often
engage in destructive busyness (from inner-city crimes to cross-
border wars); as Hippocrates observed in Decorum, “Idleness
and lack of occupation tend―nay are dragged―towards evil”
(Hippocrates, quoted in Peterson, 1946, p. 88).
We advocate a third kind of busyness: futile busyness,
namely, busyness serving no purpose other than to prevent
idleness. Such activity is more realistic than constructive
busyness and less evil than destructive busyness. However, as
we demonstrated in the no-justification (same-candy or same-
design) condition of our research, most people will not volun-
tarily choose futile busyness.
This is where paternalism can play a role (Thaler & Sun-
stein, 2008). For example, homeowners may increase the hap-
piness of their idle housekeepers by letting in some mice and
prompting the housekeepers to clean up. Governments may
increase the happiness of idle citizens by having them build
bridges that are actually useless. Indeed, some such interven-
tions already exist: Airports have tried to increase the happi-
ness (or reduce the unhappiness) of passengers waiting at the
baggage carousel by increasing the distance between the gate
and the baggage claim area, forcing them to walk far rather
than wait idly (Larson, 1987). Similar intentions may be
applied at the societal level. Although these strategies may not
be ethical, we believe that futile busyness trumps both idleness
and destructive busyness.
Here, we prove that our findings cannot be explained norma-
tively. Let p (0 p 1) denote the proportion of partici-
pants who preferred the candy offered at the faraway location,
q (0 q 1) denote the proportion of participants who pre-
ferred to walk far, and w (0 ≤ w1) denote the relative impor-
tance of candy type over the distance walked. Assume that
p, q, and w are mutually independent.
Normatively, the proportion of participants choosing the
faraway location should be q in the same-candy condition and
0.5w + q(1 w) in the different-candy condition. The reason is
this: In the same-candy condition, choice should depend only
on q. In the different-candy condition, choice should be a
weighted combination of p and q, namely, w * p + (1 – w) * q,
but because the candies at the two locations are equally attrac-
tive, p should be .5 and w * p + (1 w) * q becomes 0.5w +
q(1 – w).
Mathematically, it is impossible that 0.5w + q(1 – w)
exceeds both q and 50%; that is, it is impossible for the pro-
portion of participants choosing the faraway location in the
different-candy condition to exceed both the proportion of
such participants in the same-candy condition and 50%. But
that is what we found in Experiment 1 and replicated in the
bracelet study, described in the General Discussion. Therefore,
these findings cannot be explained normatively.
We thank Zach Burns, Xianchi Dai, Nick Epley, Joshua Klayman,
Yang Yang, and Joe Zhang for helpful suggestions at different stages
of this project.
Declaration of Conflicting Interests
The authors declared that they had no conflicts of interest with
respect to their authorship or the publication of this article.
We thank the Center for Decision Research at the University of
Chicago Booth School of Business, the Templeton Foundation, and the
National Science Foundation of China for research support.
1. Our research concerns only moderate levels of idleness and busy-
ness. If an idleness option engenders extreme boredom, one needs
no justification to escape it; if an option for keeping busy involves
extreme toil, one would not seek it.
2. Although retrospective evaluation is sometimes inaccurate (e.g., it
may be duration insensitive), there is no reason to suspect that it was
systematically biased in the context of this experiment (e.g., duration
was held constant in this research).
Ariely, D., Kamenica, E., & Prelec, D. (2008). Men’s search for
meaning: The case of Legos. Journal of Economic Behavior and
Organization, 67, 671–677.
930 Hsee et al.
Arkes, H.R., & Blumer, C. (1985). The psychology of sunk cost.
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 35,
Benartzi, S., & Thaler, R. (2004). Save more tomorrow: Using behav-
ioral economics to increase employee savings. Journal of Politi-
cal Economy, 112, 164–187.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Beyond boredom and anxiety: Expe-
riencing flow in work and games (25th anniversary special ed.).
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Fahlman, S.A., Mercer, K.B., Gaskovski, P., Eastwood, A.E., &
Eastwood, J.D. (2009). Does a lack of life meaning cause
boredom? Results from psychometric, longitudinal, and experi-
mental analyses. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 28,
Furham, A. (1982). The Protestant work ethic and attitudes towards
unemployment. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 55, 277–
Hsee, C.K. (1996). Elastic justification: How unjustifiable factors
influence judgments. Organizational Behavior and Human Deci-
sion Processes, 66, 122–129.
Hsee, C.K., Hastie, R., & Chen, J. (2008). Hedonomics: Bridg-
ing decision research with happiness research. Perspectives on
Psychological Science, 3, 224–243.
Hsee, C.K., Yang, Y., Gu, Y., & Chen, J. (2009). Specification seek-
ing: How product specifications influence consumer preferences.
Journal of Consumer Research, 35, 952–966.
Hsee, C.K., Yu, F., Zhang, J., & Xi, Y. (2003). Lay rationalism
and inconsistency between predicted experience and decision.
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 16, 257–272.
Kivetz, R., & Simonson, I. (2002). Self-control for the righteous:
Toward a theory of precommitment to indulgence. Journal of
Consumer Research, 299, 199–217.
Kivetz, R., & Zheng, Y. (2006). Determinants of justification and
self-control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135,
Kunda, Z. (1990). The case for motivated reasoning. Psychological
Bulletin, 108, 480–498.
Larson, R.C. (1987). Perspectives on queues: Social justice and the
psychology of queuing. Operations Research, 35, 895–905.
Merrens, M.R., & Garrett, J.B. (1975). The Protestant ethic scale as
a predictor of repetitive work performance. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 60, 125–127.
Mikulas, W.L., & Vodanovich, S.J. (1993). The essence of boredom.
The Psychological Record, 43, 3–12.
Neff, W.S. (2006). Work and human behavior. Piscataway, NJ: Aldine
Norton, M.I. (2009). The IKEA effect: When labor leads to love.
Harvard Business Review, 87, 30.
Peterson, W.F. (1946). Hippocratic wisdom for him who wishes to pur-
sue properly the science of medicine: A modern appreciation of
ancient scientific achievement. Springfield, IL: Charles C Thomas.
Robbins, D.A. (1978). Waiting and unemployment. Human Studies,
1, 83–91.
Shafir, E., Simonson, I., & Tversky, A. (1993). Reason-based choice.
Cognition, 49, 11–36.
Smith, R.P. (1981). Boredom: A review. Human Factors, 23,
Thaler, R.H., & Sunstein, C.R. (2008). Nudge: Improving decisions
about health, wealth, and happiness. New Haven, CT: Yale
University Press.
Xu, J., & Schwarz, N. (2009). Do we really need a reason to indulge?
Journal of Marketing Research, 46, 25–36.
Zuckerman, M. (1994). Behavioral expressions and biosocial bases of
sensation seeking. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
... People dread being idle and have been observed as happier when busied by a task (Hsee, Yang, & Wang, 2010). Recent research suggests that busyness has become a status symbol, signaling competence, ambition, and being in high demand (Bellezza, Paharia, & Keinan, 2017). ...
... nonproductive), revealing that only when people spent large amounts of discretionary time nonproductively did they report lower subjective well-being. In light of prior work showing that people enjoy increased satisfaction from feeling productive and busy (Etkin & Mogilner, 2016;Hsee et al., 2010), this finding suggests that a lacking sense of productivity may be one underlying mechanism driving the negative effect of having too much time. We further examine this finding in the subsequent two studies. ...
... On the other end of the continuum, in light of the moderating role of discretionary time spent productively (vs. nonproductively) in Study 2, as well as work showing the benefits of being productive (Etkin & Mogilner, 2016;Hsee et al., 2010;Keinan & Kivetz, 2010), we proposed that compared to having a moderate amount of discretionary time, having too much discretionary time would make people feel unproductive and thus experience lower subjective well-being. After being presented with the definition of discretionary time, "time spent on leisure activities or on other pursuits where the primary function is the use of time for pleasure or some other intrinsically worthwhile purpose," participants were led to mentally simulate having a given amount of discretionary time every day for at least 6 months of their lives. ...
Full-text available
Many people living in modern society feel like they do not have enough time and are constantly searching for more. But is having limited discretionary time actually detrimental? And can there be downsides of having too much discretionary time? In two large-scale data sets spanning 35,375 Americans and two experiments, we explore the relationship between the amount of discretionary time individuals have and their subjective well-being. We find and internally replicate a negative quadratic relationship between discretionary time and subjective well-being. These results show that whereas having too little time is indeed linked to lower subjective well-being caused by stress, having more time does not continually translate to greater subjective well-being. Having an abundance of discretionary time is sometimes even linked to lower subjective well-being because of a lacking sense of productivity. In such cases, the negative effect of having too much discretionary time can be attenuated when people spend this time on productive activities. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... However, academic research on busyness is limited with most focused on busyness outside the workplace and its influence on self-assessment. For instance, some research mentioned how individual busyness serves as a reminder of spiritual satisfaction, which leads to feelings of psychological pleasure (Hsee et al., 2010;Yang and Hsee, 2019); busyness can increase positive self-evaluation by imposing a sense of task competency on individuals. Busyness can also weaken negative self-evaluation in cases of task delays. ...
... Second, this study provides a new method for penetrating busyness. Although a few previous studies have focused on busyness, existing studies mainly focused on an individual' busyness and its influence on the individual's self-evaluation (Hsee et al., 2010;Bellezza et al., 2016;Wilcox et al., 2016;Yang and Hsee, 2019). They paid less attention to the influence of the busyness of leaders in the workplace and the impression that busyness left on others (Sherf et al., 2019). ...
Full-text available
How leaders influence followers have been a hot topic in both research and practice. Yet, prior studies have primarily focused on the impact of one leadership style, while overlooking how a leadership role may influence behavioral expressions of leaders. Particularly, being a leader means having to face time demands and workload pressure, and thus, busyness becomes a common phenomenon for leaders. Focused on perceived leader busyness, we had examined how it may influence employee interactions with leaders and how those interactions influenced leader evaluations of the performance of followers. Based on sensemaking theory, we propose that when followers have a high level of perspective taking, they are more likely to take avoidance behavior when perceiving leaders as of high busyness. Further, when followers engage in interaction avoidance behavior, leaders may consider followers as hiding errors or intentionally concealing their work process, which reduces positive evaluations (i.e., task performance and conscientiousness evaluation) while enhancing negative evaluation (i.e., deviance behavior) toward followers. We conducted two studies. Study one was conducted with a 25 participants interview and data of 297 employees to show scale validity of perceived leader busyness. Study two was conducted with 377 employees and their direct supervisors. Applying the complex modeling method, we found that followers with low-level perspective taking are less likely to engage in interaction avoidance behavior, even when perceiving leaders as high busyness; interaction avoidance behavior of followers has a positive relationship with counterproductive behavior evaluation of leaders, but a negative relationship with conscientiousness behavior evaluation. This study enriches the dyadic interactions between leaders and followers. In addition, it also shows the burden of perspective taking.
... However, contrary to this recommendation, our study found that students who were enrolled in more units experienced higher levels of flourishing and more frequent positive emotions. This finding reflects previous studies that suggest students are happier when they are busy (Hsee, Yang, & Wang, 2010). Moreover, though the department recommends that students spend a minimum of 10 hours spent per week at their internship sites, there is no guideline for the minimum or maximum number of days to spend interning per week. ...
We surveyed 60 undergraduates who were enrolled in a capstone course at a large research university on the west coast to explore the impacts of required internships on college student mental health.
... By doing so a substantial increase in happiness will be obtained. Being able to have free time (Hsee et al., 2010), find the true meaning of life and have a satisfactory network of social relationships (Baumeister & Leary, 1995), or being able to help others (Aknin et al., 2013;Dunn et al., 2008), are all types of goods that can increase happiness in richer countries where social comparison and hedonic adaptation reduce the possibility of a further increase in happiness. ...
Full-text available
Despite the growing interest among the scientific community regarding the power of subconscious, the current research did not find any evidence of its superiority over consciousness in generating positive consumer experience. This study shows that researches in subliminal messages have been set to work towards a set of pre-defined results and can only be used to generate some insignificant changes in social behaviour. Such behaviour is elicited only in laboratory conditions with specific situational variables. Interpretation of the existing corpus of the literature shows that subliminal messages can create negative experience which leads to hostile behaviour like derogatory comments on an African by an American citizen when the latter was primed with negative subliminal messages. Positive priming on the other hand showed weak presence in behaviour. However, research in the field of subliminal messages is required to inspect whether it is capable of improving mental health as indicated by few researches. Further exploration is required to prevent subliminal abuse. As indicated in the current study, subliminal messages when used in commercials are not capable of making a significant increase in sales figures when compared to supraliminal messages. Such messages and their wide-spread broadcast are not ethical because of the advertiser’s inclinations to use lascivious, disparaging or satanic stimuli which can lead to fatal outcomes like alleged suicide of a 10-year old boy. Positive experience or happiness is a subjective feeling and is generated by supraliminal messages which has been shown in the study to rely heavily on consciousness.
... By doing so a substantial increase in happiness will be obtained. Being able to have free time (Hsee et al., 2010), find the true meaning of life and have a satisfactory network of social relationships (Baumeister & Leary, 1995), or being able to help others (Aknin et al., 2013;Dunn et al., 2008), are all types of goods that can increase happiness in richer countries where social comparison and hedonic adaptation reduce the possibility of a further increase in happiness. ...
When it comes to happiness and satisfaction, consumer socioeconomic status (SES) has an important moderating role. In this chapter, we outline in which way SES intervenes in shaping consumer preferences and consumer happiness. When considering consumer preferences, low socioeconomic status has been shown to impact dietary patterns, such as consumption of fruits and vegetables, high caloric food, sugar-sweetened beverages, as well as consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Studies also show that low SES consumers tend to engage in purchases of various status-signaling goods. Socioeconomic status has also been shown to intervene in delineating happiness for experiential and material goods, consumer loyalty behavior, and consumer happiness with food consumption. We discuss the factors responsible for these relationships.
... First, users must justify the effort they put into the contents and therefore appreciate them more [38]. Second, people are generally happier when making an effort rather than remaining idle (i.e., idleness aversion [39]). These mechanisms apply even when the efforts are made mandatorily [14]. ...
Full-text available
Although a growing number of consumers acknowledge the importance of firms’ corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, how companies can effectively communicate these initiatives to consumers is still a challenge. Although the rise of social media platforms has provided firms with opportunities for more immediate and interactive communication with consumers, recent academic studies related to social media have mostly focused on effective communication of promotional messages, and relatively little attention has been paid to prosocial messages. For better communication, social media branded messages have encouraged user participation (i.e., calls to action), but how diverse types of calls to action can generate consumer engagement remains unexplored. Using over 2000 branded posts from popular consumer product brands on Facebook and Twitter, this research explores diverse types of calls to action that drive consumers’ attitudinal (i.e., likes) and behavioral (i.e., shares) engagement with CSR-related messages on social media. The research findings suggest that the types of calls to action matter in the effectiveness of CSR messages. Specifically, CSR messages inviting consumers to brand-related programs or games generated a greater number of likes and shares. However, the overall engagement was lower when CSR messages encouraged further conversations, and rewarding consumers was also less effective. Finally, the results show that multiple calls to action within one message decrease engagement. Overall, this study contributes to the academic literature and management by providing new insights and actionable guidelines on how to encourage user participation when designing CSR messages to enhance consumers’ attitudinal and behavioral engagement within social media, thereby contributing to sustainable development while enhancing the effectiveness of marketing communications.
... activity, dynamic measure, expectation, temporal experience, waiting For many people, waiting can be an aversive experience. Studies have shown that instead of persevering and waiting, individuals prefer doing something else, such as eating (Havermans, Vancleef, Kalamatianos, & Nederkoorn, 2015), taking longer walks (Hsee, Yang, & Wang, 2010), or even giving themselves electro shocks (Wilson et al., 2014). Incorporating this desire to engage in alternative activities in the present study, we examined how the possibility of being active while waiting for over 1 hour can change the dynamical experience of time when compared to time spent waiting passively. ...
Full-text available
Activities can have substantial impacts on temporal experience. We investigated how the impact of being active develops dynamically over the course of long waiting times. Participants waited in a library building, either sitting passively or walking around actively, for between 60 and 100 minutes. Retrospectively, they reported how different aspects of their temporal experiences developed throughout their wait: duration judgements, passage of time judgements, and general awareness of time. Duration was estimated to be shorter in the passive than in the active condition throughout the wait. In an early phase, the passage of time felt slower and time awareness was felt to be higher in the passive condition. Yet, this difference was resolved over the course of the wait. We conclude that the effects of activity on temporal experiences decrease over longer waiting periods. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Full-text available
Waiting involves both cognition and emotions. It has a bearing on the overall perception of retail service quality. The advancement in retailing has triggered scholarly conversations on the psychological impact of waiting at the retail checkout. Prior studies confirm customers being deeply involved in the passage of time and time estimation during the entire waiting period. This study investigates the customer idle time and its implication on emotional discomfort resulting from crowding stress. The study employed confirmatory sampling wherein specific sample elements are chosen since they are the key respondents to confirm hypotheses being tested. Accordingly, 385 respondents (shoppers) visiting the leading organized retailers located in major localities in Bengaluru were approached. The responses were analyzed using a Chi-squared test and Pearson correlation. The outcome reveals that irrespective of age and gender, customers visiting the offline retail outlets experience emotional discomfort. The young customers aged 18-30 dislike waiting in the queue at the checkout compared to older customers. In contrast, gender did not affect the inclination to wait. The idleness during the checkout waits causes emotional discomfort on most occasions. The findings supplement the growing research in psychology on the actual and perceived consumption of time, focusing on idleness. The study concludes that customers desire to avert an unproductive use of time, thus lowering their emotional discomfort.
To entice new donors and spread awareness of the charitable cause, many charity campaigns encourage donors to broadcast their charitable acts with self-promotion devices such as donor pins, logoed apparel, and social media hashtags. However, this voluntary publicity strategy may not be particularly attractive because potential donors may worry that observers will attribute their publicized charitable behavior to “impure” image motives rather than “pure” altruistic motives. We propose and test a counterintuitive campaign strategy—obligatory publicity, which requires prospective donors to use a self-promotion device as a prerequisite for contributing to the campaign. Five studies (N = 10,866) test the application and effectiveness of the proposed strategy. The first three studies, including two field experiments, find that obligatory-publicity campaigns recruit more contributions and campaign promoters than voluntary-publicity campaigns. The last two studies demonstrate that the obligatory-publicity strategy produces a greater effect among people with stronger image motives and that the effect is mitigated when the publicized charitable act signals a low level of altruism. Finally, we discuss limitations and implications of this research.
Spätestens seit die Sozialfigur des Prosumenten wiederentdeckt wurde, stellt sich vermehrt die Frage, was denn noch an reinem, ja passivem Konsum übrigbleibt, wenn die meisten Konsumenten doch mehr oder weniger aktiv sind, mithin Produktivität ihr Verhalten vorrangig zu prägen scheint. Konsumtion ohne Produktion gerät damit vollends ins Hintertreffen, so macht es den Eindruck. Der vorliegende Beitrag geht diesem Verdacht ein Stück weit nach und prüft in diesem Zusammenhang, inwieweit Muße das eigentliche Mysterium des modernen Konsums darstellt.
Full-text available
Queueing environment and feedback regarding the likely magnitude of the delay can also influence customer attitudes and ultimately, in many instances, a firm's market share. Even if we focus on the wait itself, the 'outcome' of the queueing experience may vary nonlinearly with the delay, thus reducing the importance of average time in queue, the traditional measure of queueing performance. This speculative paper uses personal experiences, published and unpublished cases, and occasionally 'the literature' to begin to organize our thoughts on the important attributes of queueing.
The development of questionnaire scales to measure sensation seeking, first as a general trait and then as one with two or four facets, is described. Behavioral correlates of the trait include: volunteering for unusual or risky experiences, exceptional dangerous sports, fast and reckless driving, variety of sexual partners and activities, smoking, drinking and drugs, and risky or stressful vocations. Sensation seeking also influences preferences in art, media, music, movies, and television with a preference for novel, intense, and arousing themes like sex and violence.
In a series of studies in which consumers assembled IKEA boxes, folded origami, and built sets of Legos, we demonstrate and investigate the boundary conditions for what we term the “IKEA effect” – the increase in valuation of self-made products. Participants saw their amateurish creations – of both utilitarian and hedonic products – as similar in value to the creations of experts, and expected others to share their opinions. Our account suggests that labor leads to increased valuation only when labor results in successful completion of tasks; thus when participants built and then destroyed their creations, or failed to complete them, the IKEA effect dissipated. Finally, we show that labor increases valuation of completed products not just for consumers who profess an interest in “do-it-yourself” projects, but even for those who are relatively uninterested. We discuss the implications of the IKEA effect for marketing managers and organizations more generally.
The literature on personal correlates of Protestant work ethic beliefs and the re- lationship between these beliefs and various aspects of paid work is briefly reviewed. A study is described which examines the relationship between Prot- estant work ethic beliefs and attitudes to unemployment. Subjects rated the importance of various explanations for unemployment in Britain, as well as their agreement with statements about social security (welfare) payments to the unem- ployed. As predicted, people who strongly endorsed the Protestant work ethic stressed negative individualistic explanations for unemployment and were, by and large, more against welfare payments than those who did not strongly endorse those beliefs. The results are discussed in terms ofthe psychology of lay economic explanations, and some implications for social change are noted.
Existential theory and previous qualitative research have suggested that a lack of life meaning and purpose causes boredom, as well as other types of negative affect such as depression or anxiety. Although these variables have been shown to be correlated at one point in time, the relationships among these constructs have not been investigated using a controlled, quantitative research design. In Study 1 a (N = 131), boredom was shown to be related to, yet psychometrically distinct from, life meaning, depression, and anxiety. In Study 1b (N = 88), life meaning significantly predicted changes in boredom across time while depression and anxiety did not. In addition, boredom was a significant predictor of changes in life meaning across time, while depression and anxiety were not. Finally, in Study 2 (N = 102), manipulating perceptions of life meaning significantly changed boredom, while a manipulation of mood did not. The nature of the relationship between life meaning and boredom, as well as some clinical implications, are discussed.
One way to increase happiness is to increase the objective levels of external outcomes; another is to improve the presentation and choices among external outcomes without increasing their objective levels. Economists focus on the first method. We advocate the second, which we call hedonomics. Hedonomics studies (a) relationships between presentations (how a given set of out-comes are arranged among themselves or relative to other outcomes) and happiness and (b) relationships between choice (which option among alternative options one chooses) and happiness. © 2008 Association for Psychological Science.