Given the limits of willpower, some psy­chology pro­fes­sors at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity began thinking about alter­na­tives. Might expe­ri­encing cer­tain emo­tions help curb our desire for the short-​​term grat­i­fi­ca­tion that comes from spending money? In par­tic­ular, David DeSteno and his col­leagues wanted to find out what role grat­i­tude might play in squelching the desire to spend money.

DeSteno writes about the study in a recent Har­vard Busi­ness Review blog, Grat­i­tude Is the New Willpower. He and his col­leagues designed an exper­i­ment that asked par­tic­i­pants 27 ques­tions designed to deter­mine their will­ing­ness to give up imme­diate grat­i­fi­ca­tion for a bigger pay-​​off later. But before asking the 75 par­tic­i­pants ques­tions such as, Would you choose to receive $54 now or $80 in 30 days? the researchers first ran­domly assigned each par­tic­i­pant to recall an event from their past that made them feel grateful, happy or neutral.

Read the article at Huffington Post →