University of Twente Student Theses


The influence of increasing future timespans on the functionality of narratives of possible selves

Bojer, J. (2020) The influence of increasing future timespans on the functionality of narratives of possible selves.

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Abstract:Background. This thesis examines the question of how different future timespans (a couple of days; one to five years; more than five years) influences the functionality of futuring (imagining the future). It has already been found out that futuring can have motivational effects on for example academic achievement, that it can be trained throughout a course of several weeks and that the functionalities (Expressing emotions, Orienting) are not completely stable over time. Therefore, the manipulation of time, was used to explore how functionalities differ depending on timespan. Method. Four participants which were all students wrote one to two letters every week. In the first week the suggested timespan was a couple of days in the future, in the second week one to five years and in the third week more than ten years. The letters were coded in order to analyze and compare the functionalities that were used by the participants. These were followed up by a questionnaire in which the participants evaluated the perceived usefulness of the exercise which revealed what kind of functionalities are perceived as useful and how the perceived usefulness of the exercise differs throughout the weeks. Through qualitative analysis, Letters and questionnaires were analyzed with regards to the different dimensions (Imagining, Emotions, Attending to oneself, Orienting, Evaluating, Contra futuring, Personal/Social Situations) as well as the situations that were described in the letters and the situations that would benefit from this exercise which were found in the questionnaires. Results. Overall, it was found out that the different functionalities all changed over the course of the weeks. The letters showed an excessive amount of ‘Imagining’ functionalities that were greatest for week 3 while the questionnaires revealed a significant decrease in perceived usefulness of the exercise over time. The situations found in both letters and questionnaires remained relatively stable with social situations (Family/friends/career-related) being predominant in the letters and personal situations (tackling important tasks e.g.) being found in the questionnaires. Discussion. Manipulating the timespan used in the individual letters was successful in making visible changes in functionalities of futuring over the course of the three weeks. It was found out that certain functionalities are more present in certain future timespans. It was concluded that timespan plays a role in the efficiency of most functionalities relating to imagining a best possible self. Therefore, interventions or therapies that make use of futuring may benefit from the knowledge that certain functionalities are more efficient in certain future timespans. Thus, further studies need to elaborate on these findings and should seek to do comparable studies with different age groups and educational backgrounds to be able to either generalize the findings or to stress differences in the perception of individuals.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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