Parenting motivation and consumer decision-making

Yexin Jessica Li, Kelly L. Haws, Vladas Griskevicius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Parenting has been a central activity throughout human history, yet little research has examined the parental care motivation system on preferences and decision-making. Because successful parenting involves caring for both a child’s immediate and long-term needs, we consider whether parenting motivation leads people to focus more on the present or on the future. A series of five experiments reveals that parenting motivation activates gender-specific stereotypes of parental roles, leading men to be more future-focused and women to be more present-focused. These shifts in temporal focus produce gender differences in temporal preferences, as manifested in intertemporal decisions (preferences for smaller, immediate rewards vs. larger, future ones) and attitudes toward a marketplace entity with inherent temporal tradeoffs (i.e., rent-to-own businesses). Reversing gender role stereotypes also reverses these gender differences, suggesting downstream effects of parenting motivation may be due, at least in part, to stereotypes about familial division of labor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1137
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019



  • Gender stereotypes
  • Intertemporal choice
  • Parenting motivation

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