We are noto­ri­ously bad at fore­going instant grat­i­fi­ca­tion for longer-​​term rewards. In lab­o­ra­tory studies and in the real world, people fre­quently make impa­tient deci­sions that econ­o­mists would call “sub­op­timal,” and, in real-​​life terms, result in credit card debt, obe­sity, or drug addiction.

Add emo­tion to the mix, and the decision-​​making seems to get worse: sad people make even more impa­tient finan­cial deci­sions, one study found. Stamping out emo­tional responses seems like the best path to making wiser and more log­ical decisions.

A team of researchers led by a North­eastern Uni­ver­sity psy­chol­o­gist has found, how­ever, that one emo­tion can make us more patient: feeling grateful improves people’s ability to take the long-​​view when making finan­cial decisions.

In a study to be pub­lished in the journal Psy­cho­log­ical Sci­ence, they found that, on average, grateful people were more willing to forego imme­diate temp­ta­tion for a larger reward than people who were merely neu­tral or happy.

Read the article at The Boston Globe →