Noguchi, T., Stewart, N., Olivola, C. Y., Moat, H. S., & Preis, T. (2014). Characterizing the time-perspective of nations with search engine query data. PLoS ONE, 9, e95209. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095209

Vast quantities of data on human behavior are being created by our everyday internet usage. Building upon a recent study by Preis, Moat, Stanley, and Bishop (2012), we used search engine query data to construct measures of the time-perspective of nations, and tested these measures against per-capita gross domestic product (GDP). The results indicate that nations with higher per-capita GDP are more focused on the future and less on the past, and that when these nations do focus on the past, it is more likely to be the distant past. These results demonstrate the viability of using nation-level data to build psychological constructs.

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