Temporal discounting of strategic issues: Bold forecasts for opportunities and threats

Scott Highhouse, Susan Mohammed, Jody R. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Two experiments were conducted to investigate the effects of a strategic issue's temporal proximity on the identification of the issue as threatening or opportunity like. In Experiment 1, university students (N = 86) reacted to hypothetical threats or opportunities that differed in the degree to which they were immediate or delayed. Evidence was found for the asymmetrical discounting of strategic issues such that students discounted distant threats more than distant opportunities. In addition, it was found that, although immediate threats were viewed just as likely to occur as immediate opportunities, distant threats were seen as less likely to occur than distant opportunities. Experiment 2 (N = 222) showed that a manipulation of a threat's likelihood of occurring had no effect on the temporal discounting of the hypothetical threat. However, the perceived control of threats increased as temporal distance increased. This article concludes that perceived control plays an important role in the reduced plausibility of distant threats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-56
Number of pages14
Journalbasic and applied social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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