Next Week, Next Month, Next Year: How Perceived Temporal Boundaries Affect Initiation Expectations Mar 13, 2017 By Benjamin ConverseM. Hennecke Next Week, Next Month, Next Year: How Perceived Temporal Boundaries Affect Initiation Expectations To move from commitment to action, planners must think about the future and decide when to initiate. We demonstrate that planners prefer to initiate on upcoming days that immediately follow a temporal boundary. For example, aspiring dieters who considered a time horizon from Thursday, February 27th to Tuesday, March 4th showed expectation increases from Days 4 to 5 (Sunday to Monday) when induced to think of weekdays and from Days 2 to 3 (February 28th to March 1st) when induced to think of calendar dates. Using both causal steps- and moderation-based approaches, we demonstrate that this occurs (in part) because planners neglect situational constraints when evaluating initiation opportunities after (vs. before) temporal boundaries. A field experiment demonstrated a costly consequence: Aspiring dieters were more likely to sacrifice 1 week of access to an expensive weight-loss program if it allowed them to start on a day they perceived to follow a temporal boundary. Social Psychological and Personality Science Benjamin Converse Benjamin Converse is an associate professor of public policy and psychology at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Department of Psychology. His research focuses on motivation, social judgment, problem solving and decision making. He teaches courses related to leadership and negotiations. Read full bio M. Hennecke Related Content Benjamin Converse People systematically overlook subtractive changes Research A series of problem-solving experiments reveal that people are more likely to consider solutions that add features than solutions that remove them, even when removing features is more efficient. Slow Motion Increased Perceived Intent Research To determine the appropriate punishment for a harmful action, people must often make inferences about the transgressor’s intent. In courtrooms and popular media, such inferences increasingly rely on video evidence, which is often played in “slow motion.” We instinctively add on new features and fixes. Why don’t we subtract instead? News Across a series of studies published this month in the journal Nature, Batten’s Gabrielle Adams, Benjamin Converse and co-authors demonstrated that people tend to overlook the option to subtract parts when asked to change or improve something. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, they explore why ‘less is more’ is a hard insight to act on. Why People Forget that Less is Often More News Why, when solving problems, do people prefer adding things to getting rid of them? In an article for The Economist, Batten’s Gabrielle Adams and Benjamin Converse explain their research on subtractive improvements.