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Curr Opin Psychol. 2019 Apr;26:19-22. doi: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.03.013. Epub 2018 Apr 4.

Legacy motivations & the psychology of intergenerational decisions.

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Fuqua School of Business, Duke University, 100 Fuqua Drive, Durham, NC 27708, USA. Electronic address:


Critical issues in society today involve long time horizons and multiple generations of people. A central challenge in intergenerational decisions is that the interests of present and future generations are not always aligned. The goals and focus of research on intergenerational decisions has been to (1) identify the key features of intergenerational decisions and use those insights to develop experiments that emulate those features, (2) identify the central barriers to intergenerational beneficence, and importantly, (3) identify variables that lead people to act on the behalf of future generations, void of any material or economic incentive to do so. Critically, intergenerational contexts are characterized by the intersection of intertemporal and interpersonal dimensions, which enables the enactment of legacy motivations-a key underlying force in overcoming the many barriers to intergenerational beneficence.

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