People prefer smaller gains now to bigger ones later when it comes to going green

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Washington, Aug 2 (ANI): When it comes to making environmental choices, people go the money way, that is, they give preference to smaller gains right away over bigger gains later, concludes a new study.

The study, by the American Psychological Association, claims that such a behaviour reflects "delay discounting," a mental filter used to make decisions about current versus future gains and losses.

David Hardisty, M.Phil., and Elke Weber, Ph.D., of Columbia University have reported the study in the August Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Just how much people downplay what would happen in the future is called the discount rate.

The author claims, no matter what the context, discounting stems from three factors: a bias for the present; uncertainty; and projected free time, money or other resources (such as new "green" technologies).

"When we might gain, it's simple: Those three factors make us want that gain right away. When we might lose, there's a conflict," Hardisty said.

"We want to get the loss behind us, yet we also want to put it off-because we think it will be easier to pay later or the problem will somehow go away," the expert added.

To reach the conclusion, researchers conducted three studies with 65, 118 and 146 participants, respectively.

In the study, boffins presented participants with a series of situations, forcing them to choose between different outcomes involving air quality, mass transit, garbage pile-up from a workers' strike, and monetary gain and loss (for example, paying a parking ticket in a smaller amount now or a larger amount later). (ANI)

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