How does something’s temporal location, that is, whether it occurred in the past or will occur in the future, affect whether people talk about it? Seven studies demonstrate that two factors—affective arousal and self-presentation—interact to shape time’s impact on word of mouth. Future experiences are more affectively arousing than equivalent past ones. Whether this heightened arousal increases or decreases sharing, however, depends on how the topic potentially being discussed reflects on the sender. When dealing with topics that reflect well on the sender, arousal increases sharing such that people are more likely to talk if the thing is happening in the future (versus the past). When topics make the sender look bad, however, this is no longer the case. These findings shed light on when people talk about and deepen understanding of the psychological drivers of word of mouth.

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