[Webinar Recording] How Do the Important Things in Life Influence our Everyday Behavior?
Learn how our values influence our everyday behavior.
This webinar focuses on initial insights from the first year of a three-year longitudinal study of the values of over 7,000 Australians across the adult life-span. Specifically, this presentation explores the nature of values, what Australians values are, and how they relate to the way in which people spend their time and money.
Values are motivational life goals that reflect what is important in life. They give meaning to the things we do. And, we all naturally think that what is important to us, should be important to everyone. But this is not the case. In fact, and fortunately for our society, people differ widely in terms of what is most important to them as individuals.
So, why are values important?
- It is important to know your values so you can make better decisions.
- Learning that other people may prioritise different values from your own can help you better understand them and avoid misunderstandings, frustration, and distrust.
- People who share the same value priorities will find it easier to communicate and understand each other’s decisions.
How do values influence how Australians spend their time?
In summary, we found systematic differences in time use to be related to value importance. These broad trade-offs are clearly evident when we compare across higher-order values.
- Those high on the Self-enhancement values of Power and Achievement spend more time on contracted (paid) work and education and less time on committed (unpaid) activities or less time on necessary personal care than those low on these values. In contrast, those high on the opposing Self-transcendence values of Benevolence and Societal-universalism spend more time on committed (unpaid) activities and less time on contracted (paid) activities.
- Those high on the Openness to change values of Self-direction and Stimulation spend more time on recreation and leisure and less time on either contracted (paid) or committed (unpaid) activities than those low on these values. In contrast, those high on the opposing Conservation values of Tradition and Conformity spend more time on committed (unpaid) activities and less time on recreation and leisure activities than those low on these values.
Clearly values matter in how we allocate our time. This is especially true when activities are more volitional, such as on a typical day off.
How do values influence how Australians spend their money?
Our values impact the way we spend our money, and influence a wide range of consumer behaviours. In summary, we found systematic differences in monthly spend to be related to value importance. These general trade-offs are apparent when we compare across higher-order values.
- Those high on the Self-enhancement values spent more money on housing, clothing and footwear, transport, education, and savings, and less money on food and non-alcoholic beverages, medical care, communication, and donations to charity. In contrast, those high on the opposing Self-transcendence values spent more money on food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing, medical care, communication, and donations to charity, and less money on clothing and footwear.
- Those high on the Openness to change values spent more money on alcohol, tobacco, and gambling, recreation, housing and transportation, and less money on medical care, education, and donations to charity. In contrast, those high on the opposing Conservation values spend more money on medical care and education, and less money on alcohol, tobacco, and gambling, clothing and footwear, transport, recreation, savings, and paying off debt.
Our data shows that values do indeed affect how we spend our money.
Dr. Uwana Evers, Data Scientist, Pureprofile
Dr, Uwana Evers is the Data Scientist at ASX-listed data and insights firm Pureprofile, and is a Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. She has a decade of experience in applied psychological research, is a BPS Chartered Psychologist, and has a PhD in Psychology. Her current research examines the role of personal values on charitable giving and sustainable lifestyles, and has expertise in behaviour change, social marketing, and cross-cultural psychology.