Kinds of Future-Oriented Thought and Their Relation to Well-Being Open Access

Shepard, Jason (Fall 2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/8p58pc973?locale=en
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Abstract

Dozens of studies have found evidence for a positive relation between future-oriented thought and health and well-being (i.e. people who think about the future more tend to be better off). However, due to limitations in how future-oriented thought has been conceptualized and measured, the evidence for this relation may not be as strong as the research suggests. These limitations include the conceptualization and measurement of future-oriented thought as a unidimensional construct that is primarily about goal construction and planning. In this paper, I report the development and validation of an automated, language-based measure of future-oriented thought, the use of machine-learning techniques to discover whether future-oriented thought is unidimensional or multidimensional, and three studies that test the relation between future-oriented thought and well-being. The results indicated that future-oriented thought is a multidimensional construct, and that future-oriented thought is positively related to well-being when

measured at the population level (Study 1) and at the individual level (Study 2), but when the multidimensional nature of future-oriented thought is taken into account, the relations between future-oriented thought and well-being are much more complex, yet intuitive (Study 3).

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1 Chapter 1: Introduction ……………………………………………………….…...1

1.1 The importance of future-oriented thought ……………………….….….1

1.1.1    Important functions of future-oriented thought .…........….2

1.1.2    Future-oriented thought and well-being ……….….….…...…2

1.2 Measurements and possible problems …………………………….….…....6

1.3 Open questions and possible answers …………………………………...8

1.3.1    Improvements in measuring future-oriented thought? …............8

1.3.2    Relation between future orientation and well-being? …….…....9

1.3.3    Multiple categories of future-oriented thought? ……………...10

1.3.4    Discovering categories? ……………………………………....11

1.3.5    Relations between the categories and well-being?…………...12

1.4 Outline of the remainder of the paper ………………….…………12

1.5 Categorization schemes of future-oriented thought ………………..……..13

1.5.1    Unidimensional models of future-oriented thought ……….….13

1.5.2    Valenced-based models of future-oriented thought ……….….14

1.5.3    Memory-inspired models of future-oriented thought ………...15

1.5.4    Ad-hoc categorization schemes ……………………..…………..16

1.6 Varieties of well-being ………………………………………..…………..17

1.7 Summary of Chapter 1 ……………………………………….…..……….19

2    Chapter 2: Measuring future-oriented thought ………………………………….20

2.1 Linguistic devices for referring to the future ………….…………………….20

2.2 Developing the temporal orientation parser ………….………………...22

2.3 Testing the accuracy of the temporal orientation parser ……...…………..23

2.4 Summary of Chapter 2 …………………………………………...……….24

3    Chapter 3: The relation between future-oriented thought and well-being …….25

3.1 Study 1 ………………………………………….……………………...25

3.1.1    Method ………………………………….…………………….26

3.1.2    Results ………………………………….……………………..26

3.2 Study 2 …………………………………………….…………………...29

3.2.1    Method …………………………………….………………….29

3.2.1.1 Participants ……………………………………………29

3.2.1.2 Material and procedures ………………………………31

3.2.2    Results …………………………………….…………………..34

3.3 Summary of Chapter 3 …………………………..…….………………….35

4    Chapter 4: Discovering a model of future-oriented thought …………………36

4.1 Preparing the corpus …………………………………...………………36

4.2 Building the similarity space ……………………………..……………37

4.3 Clustering rules ……………………………………………..………….38

4.4 Semantically characterizing the rules ………………………………….39

4.4.1    Results ……………………………………………….………..39

4.5 Summary of Chapter 4 ……………………………………………...…….42

5    Chapter 5: Relations between the categories and well-being …………………43

5.1 Study 3

5.1.1    Method …………………………………………………..……43

5.1.2    Results ……………………………………………………..….43

6    Chapter 6: Discussion …………………………………………………….……..47

6.1 Summary of findings ……………………………………………...……47

6.1.1    Development of temporal orientation parser ……………....43

6.1.2    Relation between future-oriented thought and well-being .…...48

6.1.3    Identification of categories of future-oriented thought .………....48

6.1.4    Relations between the categories and well-being …………….50

6.2 A new way of doing psychology? …………………………………..….53

6.3 Limitations and future directions ………………………………………55

7    References ………………………………………………………………………..59

8    Appendix A ……………………………………………………………………77

9    Appendix B ………………………………………………………………………82

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