Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors




Delay discounting, or temporal discounting, is a measure of impulsivity that describes the devaluation of a reinforcer as a function of its receipt in time. Several studies have shown that individuals diagnosed with a variety of behavioral maladies such as obesity/over-eating, substance abuse, cigarette smoking, heavy drinking, and problematic gambling exhibit greater discounting rates. To be specific, they are more impulsive and less willing to wait for delayed reinforcement than healthy controls. Several of these studies have found that obese women discount at a steeper rate than non-obese women, similar results have been shown in binge eating disorder. The relationship between discounting and other topics relating to food and eating is well documented in the literature. However, after extensive literature review only one article pertaining to delay discounting and its implications in bulimia nervosa, and three articles pertaining to delay discounting and anorexia nervosa were found. The following is an exploratory paper analyzing and discussing the possible implications and relationships between characteristics of delay discounting and eating disorders seen in the current literature. Several of the observed relationships found in the literature may warrant further investigation to aid in our understanding of these disorders and possible novel treatments. A number of studies have shown that delay discounting can be reduced. If there is additional evidence of delay discounting’s role in eating disorders, it may be possible to develop new and effective therapeutic techniques to decrease or increase the discounting rates seen in these disorders.

Included in

Psychology Commons



Faculty Mentor

Gregory Madden