Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Moore School of Business


Business Administration

First Advisor

Ashwani Monga


My dissertation examines how the properties inherent to time can affect perception of wait time and, consequently, patience. Patience, or the willingness to forgo a smaller reward in the present in order to obtain a larger reward in the future, is an important construct in the consumer behavior literature. I focus on how consumers perceive wait time when faced with an intertemporal choice between a smaller-sooner option and a larger-later one (e.g., receive less money earlier vs. more money later). In this type of situation, wait time is standing between the individual and a better option. I argue that the properties of time itself can affect wait time perception, which in turn can affect patience for a larger-later reward.

There exists scant research on how the properties of time itself can affect time perception and patience, and said research focuses on quantitative properties of time (duration, numeric labels of time, etc.). The focus of my dissertation is on qualitative properties of time—how the anthropomorphic properties of time (essay 1) and the linguistic properties of time (essay 2) can affect time perception and, in turn, patience.

Essay 1 introduces time anthropomorphism: a tendency to attribute time with humanlike mental states (e.g., time has intentions; it has a will of its own). I find that when time is anthropomorphized, it affects patience through a potency process. That is, for low power (but not high power) individuals, wait time is perceived to be more aversive when anthropomorphized, leading to a preference for a larger-later option versus a smaller-sooner one.

v Essay 2 explores the notion that the language used in frames describing time may affect patience. In intertemporal settings, patience is influenced by the size of the later reward relative to the sooner one—a much-larger (vs. larger) later reward induces more patience. I show that this effect is moderated by the frame of wait time—the effect of reward size is stronger in far (vs. long) frames. Conceptualizing the later reward as a “destination” at the end of a wait time, I argue that destinations are associated more with far (vs. long) frames. Consequently, increasing the size of the destination (i.e., later reward) leads to relatively contracted time perception, and higher patience in far (vs. long) frames.


© 2014, Frank May