Whose Time Am I Spending? Nonzero-sum Time Perception Promotes Psychological Well-being and Prosociality

In modern societies, time is a precious asset. Just like money, we invest, trade, spend, save, borrow, give, lose, and even steal time. Just like money, we see it as a zero-sum resource that can be taken or given. But time could be also conceived as a non-zero-sum: Time may be just there, created moment by moment, and may not belong to anybody. Drawing on an experience sampling survey and a series of experiments, I will present empirical evidence which demonstrates that when people perceive that time spent on others is time spent on the self and vice versa (i.e., they perceive time as non-zero-sum), they experience greater relatedness, autonomy, competence, and satisfaction with life, less stress and time pressure, and more willingness to spend time helping others. None of these effects appeared when people perceived that they were offering or sacrificing their time for others or when others were taking away their time (i.e., perceive time as zero-sum). Drawing on the ecosystem theory of relationships (Crocker & Canevello, 2015), I will suggest that people can enhance psychological well-being and prosociality when they care for others without sacrificing the self.

Speaker Biography

Yu Niiya
Hosei University, Japan

Yu Niiya, Hosei University, Japan
Dr Yu Niiya is a Professor in the Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies (GIS) at Hosei University, Tokyo, Japan. She received her MA from the University of Tokyo and her PhD from the University of Michigan. Dr Niiya’s research interests lie in the exploration of whether a compassionate mindset can encourage people to overcome their hesitation to take risks. For example, she investigated how having compassionate goals (i.e., the goals to support others) predict the extent to which people express dissent toward the group they belong to, or the extent to which they will offer help to a stranger. Furthermore, she has worked on what enables people to learn from failure, the positive relational consequences of adult’s amae, and many cross-cultural studies on various topics. She received the International Contributions to Psychology Award from the Japanese Psychological Association in 2021. She has been a PI (principal investigator) and collaborator on many Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (KAKENHI) projects for the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. Previously, she was also an associate editor for the Asian Journal of Social Psychology and is currently associate editor of the Japanese Journal of Social Psychology and the Japanese Journal of Psychology.

About the Presenter(s)
Dr Yu Niiya is a Professor in the Department of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies (GIS) at Hosei University, Tokyo, Japan

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Posted by Kid Millie