Being in hurry makes people reveal their true personalities even more clearly, new research finds.
Time pressure makes selfish people more selfish and it makes good-hearted people even nicer.
This is because, when in a rush, people tend to make the same choice they made before.
Dr Ian Krajbich, study co-author, said:
“People start off with a bias of whether it is best to be selfish or pro-social.
If they are rushed, they’ll tend to go with that bias.”
For the research, 102 people played an economic game, Dr Krajbich explained:
“The participants had to decide whether to give up some of their own money to increase the other person’s payoff and reduce the inequality between them.”
Sometimes people were given two seconds to decide, other times it was 10 seconds.
Dr Krajbich explained the results:
“We found that time pressure tends to magnify the predisposition that people already have, whether it is to be selfish or pro-social.
Under time pressure, when you have very little time to decide, you’re going to lean more heavily than usual on your predisposition or bias of how to act.”
Being forced to wait changed people’s decisions, said Dr Krajbich:
“People may still approach decisions with the expectation that they will act selfishly or pro-socially, depending on their predisposition.
But now they have time to consider the numbers and can think of reasons to go against their bias.
Maybe you’re predisposed to be selfish, but see that you only have to give up $1 and the other person is going to get $20.
That may be enough to get you to act more pro-socially.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications (Chen & Krajbich, 2018).