Parameters of delay discounting assessment: Number of trials, effort, and sequential effects

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Abstract

Procedural variants in estimating delay discounting (DD) have been shown to yield significant within-subject differences in estimated degree of delay discounting as well as variations in the patterns of choice. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of subject control over the number of trials in a delay discounting task, on degree of delay discounting. Participants were assessed with two computerized DD assessments: the full-length method presented participants with a fixed set of 240 trials, and the abbreviated task, where once participants had shown indifference between the immediate and delayed rewards, the remaining trials for that delay value were omitted. While the full-length and abbreviated methods did not differentially affect patterns of choice or estimated delay discounting, the order of presentation (ascending or descending) of immediate rewards produced differences in each measure: rate of delay discounting was significantly lower when estimated with the descending sequence; a larger proportion of area under the discounting curve was concentrated around the indifference point trial with the descending sequence; and a lower correlation was observed between estimates obtained across methods with the descending sequence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-290
Number of pages6
JournalBehavioural Processes
Volume78
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2008

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Reward
methodology
effect
parameter
trial
Delay Discounting
Area Under Curve
method
rate

Keywords

  • Delay discounting
  • Discounting functions
  • Impulsiveness
  • Research methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

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abstract = "Procedural variants in estimating delay discounting (DD) have been shown to yield significant within-subject differences in estimated degree of delay discounting as well as variations in the patterns of choice. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of subject control over the number of trials in a delay discounting task, on degree of delay discounting. Participants were assessed with two computerized DD assessments: the full-length method presented participants with a fixed set of 240 trials, and the abbreviated task, where once participants had shown indifference between the immediate and delayed rewards, the remaining trials for that delay value were omitted. While the full-length and abbreviated methods did not differentially affect patterns of choice or estimated delay discounting, the order of presentation (ascending or descending) of immediate rewards produced differences in each measure: rate of delay discounting was significantly lower when estimated with the descending sequence; a larger proportion of area under the discounting curve was concentrated around the indifference point trial with the descending sequence; and a lower correlation was observed between estimates obtained across methods with the descending sequence.",
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