With our attitudes and behavior, which aim at promoting sustainable behavior, we face a temporal dilemma – a temporal conflict between short-term and long-term interests. Accordingly, psychological time is an essential variable in understanding how people decide between options of short-term self-interest, which can be experienced at present, and long-term common interest, such as sustainable development with an outcome that lies far in the future. Present feelings are often so powerful that considerations of future events are neglected. Individuals differ in their emphasis on present and future dimensions. A stronger future orientation and a mindful present orientation are positive predictors of sustainable behavior; hedonistic and impulsive present orientations are negative predictors. We discuss the concept of the balanced time perspective as the propensity to consciously switch among the time orientations of past, present, and future. Fitting with their overall psychological profile, individuals with a balanced time perspective might display a range of sustainable attitudes and behaviors.
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Wittmann, M., & Sircova, A. (2018). Dispositional orientation to the present and future and its role in pro-environmental behavior and sustainability. Heliyon, 4(10): e00882. doi:10.1016/j.heliyon.2018.e00882.
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