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July 17, 2012

This Week's Traveshamockery

In the comments to another thread, Texan99 brought up a popular meme: first world problems. You know something is catching on when even dogs can't wait to one-up their owners:


In today's Ideas Market, Christopher Shea serves up a deliciously named first world problem - time famine. The solution, it turns out, to that gnawing sense of time inequality is to stop thinking about yourself:

A sense of ”time famine,” which has reached epidemic levels in modern society, can wreak havoc on one’s psychological and physical health. A new study suggests a counterintuitive remedy: Give some of your precious time away to other people.

In one of several experiments exploring variations on this theme, 45 minutes into a one-hour laboratory session at an East Coast university, 136 students either were asked to help an “at risk” student by editing a college essay, for 15 minutes, or told that someone else had already done the editing — so they were free to leave class early, and spend the time windfall however they pleased. The students who stayed to do volunteer work were less inclined than the others to say that time was their “scarcest resource,” and they also reported (on a 11-point scale) the impression that, in general, they had more time to spare.

Questions of cause and effect aside (did the students who stayed to help, do so because they already felt less time-famished (/drama), or was enhanced "time affluence" a result of giving to others?), the study's conclusions were interesting in light of yesterday's discussion about how self absorption tends to make us miserable.

Posted by Cassandra at July 17, 2012 07:52 AM

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To me it's evidence of overpaid professors having too much "time affluence".

Posted by: MikeD at July 17, 2012 11:13 AM