Psychological Science 2017, 40(6) 1347-1352 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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marginal utility of time
double kink value function
LIU Hong-Yan
Article by Liu,H.Y
Article by Zhang,L.J
Article by Wei,w

Timeflow: Concept, Dimension and Influencing Factors


A plenty of research has studied the relationship of time and consumer behaviors, but pay little attention on the time process of consumption experience. Timeflow is such a time process of the behavior experience when people perceive during an current activity. Correspondingly, this review is organized around three questions: (1) What is timflow; (2) What are the factors that may influence individuals’timeflow; (3)How timeflow affects people's behavior. Based on the literature, timeflow is constituted by five dimensions: the setting up of external scenario, the coordination of body skills, the initial perception of rules, the gradual integrate of target affective, and the thorough association of cultural meanings. Furthermore, there exists a relationship of coupling between five dimensions of timeflow: the setting up of external scenario is not only the foundation of target affective, but also provides effective guarantee for the association of cultural meanings; the coordination of body skills inspires and promotes the thorough association of cultural meanings for things; the initial perception of rules forms information guide for people to understand the time experience process. Accordingly, harmonious coupling relationship among five dimensions can inspire people to form a joyful time to experience the process, then have a positive timeflow and improve people’s happiness. Factors that may infuence individual timeflow are discussed from the perspective of perception and emotion. On one hand, people’s perception of time which is positive or negative determines the process of people’s experience of time. Negative emotional stimuli can accelerate people's internal clock unconsciously and change people's time perception, then forms negative timeflow. Positive and neutral emotional stimuli do not have this effect. On the other hand, emotional impact on time perception is explained by the distribution of attention: under positive emotion, people's attention mainly focus on the things that make oneself happy which makes people reduce the attention to time and underestimate duration of time, so people always form a short but happy timeflow. However, people want to finish unpleasant things under negative emotion which makes people pay more attention to time; then people always feel time is so long that forms a long and unpleasant timeflow. Timeflow also influences people's shopping experiences and happy experiences which follows the rule of double kink value function. Double kink value function of time refers that moderate blocks of time is valued in accordance with increasing marginal utility, large blocks of time is valued in accordance with diminishing marginal utility, and the value of small blocks time is indifference. The relationship between five dimensions of timeflow and the double kink value of timeflow have been reviewed in this paper. Therefore, future research could undertake empirical studies of the deep coupling relationship between five dimensions of timeflow and explore how "double kink" value function of time influences people's consumption behavior such as decision-making.

Keywords timeflow   marginal utility of time   double kink value function  
Received 2017-02-24 Revised 2017-08-23 Online: 2017-11-20 
Corresponding Authors: Li-Juan ZHANG
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