Investigations continue into the institutional and situational causes of the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States. Meier and Sprenger (2012) wondered if there might also be an individual difference component to this crisis that could help predict the decision to default on one’s loan. In a survey of 437 low- and moderate-income adults, they investigated the relationship between time discounting and FICO scores of creditworthiness. Measures of time discounting ask whether the participant is willing to take a larger, but later payout over sooner, but smaller a one. Results showed that time discounting and FICO scores were, in fact, correlated, and this relationship held regardless of participants’ income level. Participants who were most willing to delay gratification had FICO scores approximately 30 points higher than those least willing to delay.
Time Discounting Predicts Creditworthiness
Meier, S., & Sprenger, C. D. (2012). Time discounting predicts creditworthiness. Psychological Science, 23(1), 56-58.
Delay of gratification
Joachim de Posada speaks on the lifelong effects of learning to delay gratification in childhood. See his TED talk: Don’t Eat the Marshmallow Yet.