NYU Stern

What Makes Us Patient?
The Role of Emotion in Socio-temporal Evaluation


This paper studies how people evaluate delays encountered in social settings; and tests a model of how emotions contribute to socio-temporal evaluation. In Study 1 (N=210), people were asked to recall either a patient or impatient episode involving being stuck in traffic or standing in a long line. In Studies 2 and 3, field surveys were administered to people waiting in long lines at a museum (N=158) and for delayed flights at an airport (N=193). All three studies provide support for an emotion-based model of socio-temporal evaluation, in which impatient and patient evaluations are associated with differing emotions, cognitive appraisals and attributional tendencies. The model results are discussed in the context of findings on duration neglect and emerging research on the role of emotion in decision making.