Bauer Consumer Psychologist Researches Connection Between Mood, Time

Published on March 18, 2019

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Recent research by a Bauer College consumer psychologist holds insights for organizations that want to cultivate employee well-being, improve consumer connectivity or build a corporate brand that involves meaning.

Melanie Rudd, assistant professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship at Bauer College, examines how people can attain a greater sense of meaning in life in a recent study, “Making Time Matter,” published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology.

In a review of three decades of research on time and meaning, Rudd explores how people can break down an abstract, fuzzy concept into small, concrete changes in approach that can have a powerful impact, Rudd says.

“When you hear someone saying, ‘I’m just not doing anything meaningful at work,’ maybe people aren’t conscious of the legacy they are leaving behind, and there may be things we can add into the job structure or mission statement that help build a more meaningful career narrative,” Rudd says. “Or, it may be that we can add an opportunity to volunteer and enhance meaning another way.”

In an earlier work, she found that experiencing awe, which is a way of experiencing meaning by connecting to the world, can enhance people’s willingness to learn and create. An unpublished work in progress sheds light on how the way people view the feeling of busyness can sometimes be more influential than the actual amount of time one has, especially in relation to willingness to volunteer, which is a way of experiencing meaning by connecting to others.

Taking steps to inject meaning into one’s life can imbue people with a sense of purpose and empowerment, Rudd’s research shows.

“I think that putting more focus on meaningfulness has the potential to change a lot of people’s thinking,” she says.