The olive tree effect: Future time perspective when future is uncertain

TitleThe olive tree effect: Future time perspective when future is uncertain
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsMorselli, D
JournalCulture & Psychology
Keywordscommunity building, education, future time perspective, generativity, responsibility

Different fields of psychology have shown that future time perspective (FTP) has an important role in changing individual attitudes and behaviours. However, recent societal conditions, like the economic crises of the Western world, may have changed the meaning itself of the future, passing from hope to threat. This article discusses possible consequences of this change of sign of the future and the implications of future time perspective as an educational strategy in multicultural context. Synthesizing the concepts of future time orientation and generativity, a distinction between personal and social FTP is proposed. Whereas personal FTP is oriented to personal achievement and can be embedded into the Western culture but not into other cultures, social FTP is proposed as a resource for community building. Social FTP stresses the importance of the survival of the community, focusing on long-term and inclusive goals which transcend individual personal achievement. Social FTP is proposed as a cross-cultural tool for improving intergroup and interpersonal relations.

Refereed DesignationRefereed