Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 175–181 | Cite as

The effect of age and time perspective on implicit motives

Original Paper


People differ in how open-ended or limited they perceive their future. We argue that individual differences in future time perspective affect the activation of implicit motives. Perceiving the time remaining for the satisfaction of one’s motives as limited should be associated with a higher activation of these motives than perceiving one’s future as more open-ended. Given that future time perspective decreases across adulthood, older adults should score higher on implicit motives than younger adults. This hypothesis was supported in a study with young (n = 53, age M = 25.60 years) and older adults (n = 55, age M = 68.05 years). Additionally, an experimental manipulation of future time perspective showed that age-related differences in implicit motives are influenced by future time perspective. These findings demonstrate that future time perspective is an important factor to explain the strength of motives.


Implicit motives Future time perspective Adult age differences Lifespan development 



This research was supported by Grant 100014_126868/1 (Project “Social Approach and Avoidance Motive—The Role of Age”) from the Swiss National Science Foundation (PIs: Jana Nikitin and Alexandra M. Freund).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of BernBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Psychology and University Research Priority Program Dynamics of Healthy AgingUniversity of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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