Research on Capitol Hill


Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services


Psychology Department

Faculty Mentor

Amy Odum


Would you prefer $75 now or $100 in the future? What about an unhealthy dessert now or good health in the future? Both of these questions involve a smaller sooner reward option and a larger later reward option. These types of choices can be described in part by delay discounting.

  • Delay discounting is the tendency for rewards to lose value when they are presented after a delay .
  • Impulsivity is defined as a pattern of choosing smaller sooner rewards. High levels of impulsivity are associated with problematic behaviors.

High levels of impulsivity are associated with high levels of delay discounting. People who have drug addiction or smoking problems, share needles, or are obese tend to discount more than other people. There are methods for reducing delay discounting rates in individuals. Decreasing delay discounting in people could have societal benefits.

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