Date of Award:

2017

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Amy L. Odum

Co-Advisor/Chair:

Gregory J. Madden

Third Advisor:

Christian Geiser

Abstract

Many problematic behaviors can be conceptualized as choosing a smaller, immediate outcome over a larger, delayed outcome. For example, drug abuse involves choosing between the immediate euphoric effects of the drug and the delayed health and legal consequences of drug abuse. Individuals that consistently choose the smaller outcome are said to behavior “impulsively.” The goal of this dissertation was to understand how to change impulsive choice. Chapters 2 and 3 successfully demonstrate that impulsive choice can be altered by reframing how the choice is presented. For example, framing a delayed outcome using a specific date instead of a duration of time (e.g., 1 year) reduced impulsive choice. However, these findings do not explain why impulsive choice changed. The goal of Chapter 4 was to identify the underlying processes that result in impulsive choice with the hopes that by understanding these processes, impulsive choice can be reduced. Latent factor modeling was used to understand the role if three proposed processes in impulsive choice: marginal utility, cardinal utility, and nonlinear time perception. The results of the latent factor model indicated that nonlinear time perception does relate to how delayed outcomes are valued but not marginal utility and cardinal utility.

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Included in

Psychology Commons

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