Hal Hershfield

Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Decision Making

About

Psychologist Hal Hershfield studies how thinking about time transforms the emotions and alters the judgments and decisions people make. One of Hershfield’s most well known discoveries suggests that when people are confronted with their “future selves,” they experience an emotional sense of connection that can influence long-term financial and ethical decision making.

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17 Articles

Research Brief / Time Management

Too Much Free Time? Blame Solitude or Lack of Productive Activity

Even abundant free time, used in meaningful pursuits, brings happiness

A close-up image of the bronze Lady Justice statue Research Brief / Behavioral Decision Making

Alcohol Use and Violent Crime: a 36% Shorter Sentence

Intoxication seems to work as an unofficial mitigating factor

Four individuals sitting side by side at a dinner table, laughing and smiling Research Question / Nudges

How to — and How Not to — Message Older Americans

Practitioners often ignore decades of progress in understanding what works

A person crossing the street and holding three Gucci shopping bags Research Brief / Nudges

Does Spending Mean You’re Wealthy?

To many, yes, and that belief leads to lower levels of financial well-being

Illustration of a woman holding both of her hands to her face Research Brief / Marketing

Did You Forget, or Never Know? How It Impacts Purchasing

A different decision tree is used when product information is forgotten, rather than just unknown

Illustration of binoculars Research Brief / Marketing

When Does the Future Begin?

Believing it arrives sooner leads people to, well, prepare for it

Illustration of people as wind-up toys Research Brief / Retirement

Americans Sacrifice $3.4 Trillion by Claiming Social Security Too Soon

Can nudges, tailored to personality traits, persuade retirees to wait?

Illustration of a woman meditating Research Brief / Personal Finance

Good Information Alone Won’t Drive Financial Well-Being

A review of academic research finds the path to saving more and spending less often involves emotional prompts

Illustration of a boardroom with members wearing chef hats Research Brief / Management

Origin Story of Products: To Consumers, How Big a Team Seems Right?

Buyers value team over individual effort but are sensitive to invention-by-committee

Female artist Feature / Time

Creative People Really Do Think Differently

Employing a distinct part of the brain, they’re better at imagining a distant future and seeing others’ points of view

Three images of man's profile Feature / Behavioral Decision Making

Advancing the Study of Using Future-Self Images to Alter Behavior

Successful projects suggest a more thorough cataloging of how “vividness” nudges can help us delay gratification

Illustration of a young man looking into a mirror, reflecting his older self Feature / Time

The Healthy Upside of Thinking about an Older You

Consciously imagining our older self can spur us to take better care of ourselves now

Illustrations of a timeline Feature / Time

An Aerial, as Opposed to Ground-Level, View of Time

A novel framework proposes to reduce angst over schedules and lives

Illustration of a house, cap, rings, car keys, baby crib Feature / Nudges

Behavioral Nudges Timed to Certain Days are Effective Motivator

Dates of milestones — major and minor — can spur us to action

Woman with a laptop and smartphone Research Brief / Retirement Planning

Thinking Small Could Deliver Bigger Retirement Success for Gig Workers

Daily, weekly and monthly contribution schemes gauge behavior

Illustration of a character holding the sun on a string Feature / Happiness

Our Flawed Pursuit of Happiness — and How to Get It Right

New approaches to spending and time-management examine how our actions do or don't influence our level of satisfaction

Payday Loan office facade Research Brief / Debt

Sensitivity to Debt Type Predicts Financial Health

Research reveals that those wary of payday loans tend to manage their finances better