The present research investigated temporal dynamics between pleasure and meaning such that pleasure is favored in the near future, whereas meaning is favored in the distant future. As an underlying mechanism for this temporal effect, Study 1 demonstrated that pleasure was subordinate to meaning, suggesting that meaning constitutes a higher-level construal than pleasure. Consistent with construal level theory, Studies 2 and 3 found time-dependent changes in the relative weight of pleasure and meaning. Participants evaluated a meaningful life more positively than a pleasurable life as temporal distance increased (Study 2). They were also more likely to choose meaningful options in making distant- versus near-future decisions, compared to pleasurable options (Study 3). Implications and future research were discussed.
Kim, J., Kang, P., & Choi, I. (2014). Pleasure now, meaning later: Temporal dynamics between pleasure and meaning. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 55, 262-270.