Associations between a one-shot delay discounting measure and age, income, education and real-world impulsive behavior

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There has been discussion over the extent to which delay discounting – as prototypically shown by a preference for a smaller-sooner sum of money over a larger-later sum – measures the same kind of impulsive preferences that drive non-financial behavior. To address this issue, a dataset was analyzed containing 42,863 participants’ responses to a single delay-discounting choice, along with self-report behaviors that can be considered as impulsive. Choice of a smaller-sooner sum was associated with several demographics: younger age, lower income, and lower education; and impulsive behaviors: earlier age of first sexual activity and recent relationship infidelity, smoking, and higher body mass index. These findings suggest that at least an aspect of delay discounting preference is associated with a general trait influencing other forms of impulsivity, and therefore that high delay discounting is another form of impulsive behavior.

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Journal Article

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