Exchange Delays and Impulsive Choice in Adult Humans
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Choice responding by adult humans in a discrete-trial task was examined as a function of conditions that manipulated either the delay to point delivery or the delay between points and their exchange for money. In point-delay conditions, subjects chose between an "impulsive" alternative that provided a small amount of points immediately and a "self-control" alternative that provided a larger amount of points delayed by 15, 30, or 60 s. Points were exchanged for money immediately following the session. Subjects preferred the self-control alternative. In exchange-delay conditions, subjects chose between a small amount of points exchangeable for money immediately following the session and a larger amount of points exchangeable for money after 1 day, 3 weeks, or 6 weeks. A self-control preference observed for all subjects in the 1-day exchange-delay condition reversed to exclusive impulsive preference for 4 of the 6 subjects when choice conditions involved exchange delays of 3 or 6 weeks. These results show that human choice is sensitive to the manipulation of exchange delays and that impulsive preference can be obtained with exchange delays on the order of weeks.
Hyten, C., Madden, G. J., & Field, D. P. (1994). Exchange delays and impulsive choice in adult humans. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 62, 225-233.
Originally published by the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. Publisher's PDF available through remote link via PubMed Central. This article appeared in the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.
Note: Greg Madden was affiliated with the University of North Texas at time of publication.