Teens’ Self vs. Others’ Decisions on Saving vs. Spending Money


  • Kush Patel Tuscarora High School, 801 N. King St, Leesburg, Virginia 20176,
  • John Leddo​ MyEdMaster, LLC, 13750 Sunrise Valley Drive, Herndon, VA 20171,


People make financial decisions for themselves on a daily basis and are often asked to make financial recommendations for others. Part of these decisions involve a time horizon where people must decide how much money to spend immediately and how much to save for the future. Since personal decisions tend to be private while recommendations made to others are necessarily public, “self­enhancement†(Wallace, 2014) suggests that people would be more likely to take a longer term perspective when making recommendations to others than when deciding how to spend their own money since they would want to seem like they are advising others to act in a “responsible†manner. This was tested with a population of 70 high school students. Half of the students were given a hypothetical scenario in which they were given a gift of $1000 and the other half were given a hypothetical scenario in which a friend was given a gift of $1000. In the first scenario, students were asked how much of the $1000 they would save and how much would they immediately spend, while in the second scenario, students were asked how much they would recommend that their friends save or spend. Results confirmed the hypothesis as students recommended, on average, that their friends save twice the amount that they themselves would save.


• Bartels D. M., & Rips L. J. (2010). Psychological connectedness and intertemporal choice. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 139, 49–69.

• Batson, C. D. (1990). How social an animal? The human capacity for caring. American Psychologist, 45, 336 –346. doi:10.1037/0003-066X .45.3.336

• Beisswanger, A. H., Stone, E. R., Hupp, J. M., & Allgaier, L. (2003). Risk taking in relationships: Differences in deciding for oneself versus for a friend. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 25, 121–135.

• Borresen, C. R. (1987). Decision making as a function of self and others. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 64, 1301–1302.

• Brown, R. (1965). Social Psychology. New York: Free Press.

• Camerer, C., & Thaler, R. H. (1995). Anomalies: Ultimatums, dictators and manners. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9, 209 –219. doi:10.1257/ jep.9.2.209

• Clark, R. D., m, Crockett, W. H., & Archer, R. I. (1971). Risk as-value hypothesis: The relationship between perception of self, others, and the risky shift. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 20, 435-439.

• Davis, M. H. (1994). Empathy: A social psychological approach. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

• de Waal, F. (1996). Good natured: The origins of right and wrong in humans and other animals. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

• Dhami, M., & Mandel, D. (2012). Forecasted risk taking in youth: Evidence for a bounded-rationality perspective. Synthese, 161-171. doi:10.1007/s11229-012-0110-2

• Fernandez-Duque, D., & Wifall, T. (2007). Actor/observer asymmetry in risky decision making. Judgment and Decision Making, 2, 1–8.

• Hsee, Christopher K. & Weber, Elke U. (1997). A fundamental prediction error: Self–other discrepancies in risk preference.Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 126, 45-53.

• Jonas, E., & Frey, D. (2003). Information search and presentation in advisor-client interactions. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 91, 154–168.

• Kray, L. J. (2000). Contingent weighting in self-other decision making. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 83, 82–106.

• Lamm, H., Trommsdorff, G., & Rost-Schaude, E. (1972). Self image, perception of peers' risk acceptance and risky shift. European Journal of Social Psychology, 2, 255-272.

• Loewenstein, G., & Small, D. A. (2007). The Scarecrow and the Tin Man: The vicissitudes of human sympathy and caring. Review of General Psychology, 11, 112–126. doi:10.1037/1089-2680.11.2.112

• Lonergan. B. G., & McClintock. C. G. Effects of group membership on risk-taking behavior. Psychological Reports. 1961, 8. 447-455.

• McDougall, W. (1908). Introduction to social psychology. doi:10.1037/ 12261-000

• Polman, E. (2012). Self-other decision making and loss aversion, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 119, 141–150.

• Pronin, E., Lin, D. Y., & Ross, L. (2002). The Bias Blind Spot: Perceptions of Bias in Self Versus Others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28(3), 369-381.

• Slovic, P. (2007). “If I look at the mass I will never actâ€: Psychic numbing and genocide. Judgment and Decision Making, 2, 79 –95.

• Smith, A. (1976). The theory of moral sentiments (D. Raphael & A. Macfie, Eds.). Oxford, United Kingdom: Clarendon Press. (Original work published 1790)

• Stone, E. R., Yates, A. J., & Caruthers, A. S. (2002). Risk taking in decision making for others versus the self. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 32, 1797–1824.

• Wallace, B. (2014). Other People’s Money: Self-Other Differences in Financial Decision-Making. Retrieved from http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uctpbwa/papers/other.pdf

• Wallach. M. A., & Kogan. N., & Bem. D. J. Diffusion of responsibility and levels of risk taking in groups. Journal of Abnormal & Social Psychology, 1964, 68. 3.263-274.

• Wallach, M. A., & Wing, C. F., Jr. (1968). Is risk a value? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 13, 207-214.

• Yates, F. J. (1990). Judgment and decision making. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall

• Zaleska. M., & Kogan. N. Level of risk selected by individuals and groups when deciding for self and others. Sociometry. 1971.34.198-213.

• Zikmund-Fisher, B. J., Sarr, B., Fagerlin, A., & Ubel, P. A. (2006). A matter of perspective: Choosing for others differs from choosing for yourself in making treatment decisions. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 21, 618–622.




How to Cite

Patel, K., & Leddo​, J. (2016). Teens’ Self vs. Others’ Decisions on Saving vs. Spending Money. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 4(3). Retrieved from https://ajouronline.com/index.php/AJHSS/article/view/3899