Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #411
Some Extensions and Additions to Current Delay Discounting Research
Monday, May 27, 2019
8:00 AM–8:50 AM
Swissôtel, Concourse Level, Zurich BC
Area: EAB; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Mindy Cassano (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Abstract: Much of the current research in delay discounting is focused around various addictions or disorders that have been consistent with behavior commonly characterized as impulsive. This research has been instrumental in evaluating the difference between impulsivity and self-control. However, individuals with these diagnoses are not the only populations which may exhibit impulsive behaviors. Recently, researchers have begun to branch out and look at other behaviors that may be considered impulsive such as health-related behaviors like exercising and eating choices. This is an exciting and very socially significant area of research. Additionally, looking at additional factors, such as effort, that may affect discounting has emerged as a growing area within neuroscience. Evaluating this variable using behavior analytic methods provides many potential ideas for research and practice. Finally, there are very few variables that have consistently been discussed as correlates of discounting curves. This symposium will include an evaluation of additional characteristics that may be correlated with steep discounting curves, and an explanation of how these characteristics may be useful.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): delay discounting, effort discounting
An Evaluation of Delayed Discounting Values in Overweight and Obese Men and Women
CHRISTOPHER M. ROSADO (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology )
Abstract: Delay-discounting literature has greatly contributed to various issues of social importance such as substance abuse and self-control. Discounting rates, or k-values, provide a measure of how quickly individuals discount rewards over the course of time. In lieu of actual rewards, discounting rates are generally assessed using a survey called the Monetary Choice Questionnaire which presents hypothetical reward amounts and time delays. This assessment has been empirically validated to report rates which align with the actual delivery of delayed or immediate rewards. Various studies have assessed discounting rates in overweight and obese adults; however, most of the literature includes almost exclusively female participants. Additionally, the literature defines overweight and obese persons according to body mass index, which can overestimate the number of overweight and obese persons. This study will present the Monetary Choice Questionnaire and Monetary Choice Questionnaire-food to an equal comparison of male and females. Overweight and Obese participants will also be defined according to body mass index and by selecting a human model graphic that is closest to their body. These graphics will represent different body-fat percentages. Based on pilot data, obsess/overweight participants displayed steeper discounting than non-obese/overweight persons. However, most of these data are from women, so more data will be collected until an equal comparison between males and females may be made.
Behavioral Measures of Impulsivity: Delay and Effort Discounting of Hypothetical Monetary Rewards
JULYSE MIGAN-GANDONOU (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology )
Abstract: Impulsive behavior (aka, impulsivity) has been defined as a preference for smaller-immediate rewards over larger-delayed rewards. Impulsivity is a hallmark of many behavioral and psychiatric disorders including ADHD, pathological gambling, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and others. A common variable in impulsive behavior across the lifespan is the inability to forego immediate consequences for delayed consequences. Delay discounting refers to the decrease in the subjective value of a reward based on delays, and provides an empirically-validated framework for assessing and measuring impulsive behavior in humans as well as non-humans. In a typical delay-discounting experiment, individuals are asked to choose between a smaller reward available immediately and a larger reward available after a delay. Effort discounting refers to the decrease in the subjective value of rewards as the effort required to obtain the rewards increases. In a typical effort discounting task, individuals are asked to choose between a low-effort reward and a high-effort reward. The present study assessed impulsive behavior using both the delay and effort discounting frameworks. Preliminary results include similar patterns of responding between the two behavioral measures, and a positive correlation between effort and delay discounting. However, more data will be needed for more conclusive results.

The Effect of Delay Discounting Across the Lifespan: An Analysis of Correlated Factors

Laura Kruse (First Leap LLC), Julie A. Ackerlund Brandt (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology ), BRITTNEY FARLEY (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Annette Griffith (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), Amanda Mahoney (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)

There has been much research looking at various disorders and diseases considered to be “impulse” driven; for example, additions (e.g., alcohol, gambling, cigarette, etc.) or mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, etc.). However, there has been less research looking at more-simple characteristics such as home ownership, education, or income level. The current study will evaluate at various demographic factors and their relation to the k-value, or degree of discounting. Based on prior research, it is known that overall degree of discounting decreases with age, but the current study will also evaluate whether this change is due to simple maturation or other variables that correlate with changes in age. Based on preliminary results, there appear to be decreases in the k-value based on additional variables (i.e., income, education, children, and home ownership); however, more data will be needed to make more conclusive inferences. One application of these results includes helping employers to design more attractive benefits package to fit their employees based on relevant demographics.




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