In a recent study, David DeSteno and his colleagues asked 75 people to write about three things: a time they felt grateful, a time they felt amused, or a typical day. Then they asked these people a number of questions about whether they would rather have a sum of money in the moment or a greater amount of money sometime in the future (with the timeframe varying from days to months). They found that:
those feeling neutral (the ones who described their daily routine) demonstrated the usual preference for immediate reward: On average, they viewed receiving $17 now as equivalent to getting $100 in a year. Those feeling happy and amused were similar: They would sacrifice $100 in a year for $18 in the moment. But those feeling grateful showed almost double the financial patience. They required $30 in the moment to forego the $100 reward a year from now. What's more, the amount of patience people possessed was directly tied to how grateful they felt.
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