A study funded through an ARC Linkage Project grant, led by Professor Julie Lee at The University of Western Australia, has highlighted the important role that values play in our daily behaviour, including where we invest our time and money. In collaboration with partner organisation, Pureprofile, the research team surveyed almost 7,500 people across Australia aged between 18 and 75 over a 12 week period, asking a series of questions in three key focus areas—personal values, how people spend their time, and how they spend their money. The results showed that people hold a much more diverse set of values than they appreciate, and that the influence of values on everyday behaviour has been underestimated. The study demonstrated that people prioritise different values in life, including benevolence, tradition, conformity, security, power, achievement, hedonism, stimulation, self-direction, protecting the environment, equality and justice and the welfare of others. Some have similar motivations, but others have conflicting motivations. Despite this diversity, Professor Lee said that people tended to think of others as having similar values to them and that judgements people make about others seem to reflect their own values. Self-projection of values may be an important contributor to misunderstandings. New insights into the role of deeply-held values in directing behaviour could explain why some habits are difficult for people to break. When something is not good for us or our family, but it is fulfilling a core personal value, the behaviour is likely to be more ingrained and harder to change. VALUES INFLUENCE WHERE WE SPEND OUR TIME AND MONEY
PEOPLE INVOLVED IN THE STUDY WHO GAVE HIGH IMPORTANCE TO ACHIEVEMENT AND POWER WORKED ON AVERAGE AROUND AN HOUR LONGER IN A WORK DAY, AND ONE AND A HALF HOURS LONGER ON A DAY OFF COMPARED TO THOSE WHO DIDN’T. AS A RESULT, THEY SPENT LESS TIME WITH FAMILY AND ENGAGED IN FEWER SOCIAL ACTIVITIES.
Professor Julie Lee. Credit: The University of Western Australia.
STRIVING FOR CULTURAL AND SOCIAL OUTCOMES
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