A delay discounting task produces a greater likelihood of waiting than a deferred gratification task.

Abstract

A first-person-shooter video game was adapted for the study of choice between smaller sooner and larger later outcomes to compare the behavioral patterns produced by deferred gratification (DG) and delay discounting (DD) tasks. Participants played a game in which they could either fire their weapon sooner and do a small amount of damage or wait a few seconds to fire their weapon and do a larger amount of damage. For the DD task, a failure to fire within one second committed the player to waiting for the larger later outcome thus removing the opportunity to defect during the delay that is present in the DG task. The incentive structure changed multiple times during game play so that at times the optimal decision was to choose the smaller sooner outcome whereas at other times the optimal decision was to wait for the larger later outcome. Players assigned to the DD task showed a greater tendency to wait and lower sensitivity to the changing incentives.

DOI: 10.1002/jeab.119

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Cite this paper

@article{Young2015ADD, title={A delay discounting task produces a greater likelihood of waiting than a deferred gratification task.}, author={Michael E. Young and Anthony W. McCoy}, journal={Journal of the experimental analysis of behavior}, year={2015}, volume={103 1}, pages={180-95} }