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Selfless Time

[journal article]

Urien, Bertrand

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Abstract Time studies in psychology or in consumer behaviour, traditionally think of the personal future as a Lewinian `life space', containing several well-known time dimensions: future time perspective, future anxiety, and hope. Those dimensions are used to test the predictive power of various behaviours (attitudinal change, health behaviour, delay of gratification, etc.) or more specifically: the temporality of consumer behaviours as implied in consumption of cultural goods, exploratory consumer behaviour, or mail order purchasing. However, the personal future is flexible enough to enable individuals to project themselves well beyond this `life space' into a post-mortem future. In this context, I propose to look at the concept of death anxiety. Researchers studying the influence of time representations on human behaviour should not limit themselves to apprehending the traditional dimension of personal future; they could integrate an understanding of the future that projects us beyond physical death. This requires first a close examination of the relationships between death anxiety and the traditionally applied future dimensions, and then broadening the scope to various human and consumer behaviours still unexplained by traditionally acknowledged temporal dimensions. I first present the classical Lewinian notion of personal future, highlighting some of its aspects, to show how death anxiety is part of the personal future, and presents major behavioural impacts. Second, by using structural equation modelling, and a multi-group approach, I present an empirical study aiming to show the nature and the intensity of the links between death anxiety and the other traditionally applied dimensions.
Classification Applied Psychology; General Psychology
Free Keywords death anxiety; generativity; personal future; psychological time; Terror Management Theory;
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 367-386
Journal Time & Society, 16 (2007) 2-3
ISSN 1461-7463
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)