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Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department of Graduate Psychology
Daniel D. Holt
Delay discounting is a phenomenon wherein a commodity loses its value as the delay to its receipt increases. It may be conceptualized as a measure of patience, or impatience. There are several aspects of a commodity that contribute to its loss in value, in addition to the delay to its receipt. Specifically, there are differential rates in delay discounting across commodity types (domain effects) and commodity amounts (magnitude effects). Interestingly, magnitude effects occur almost exclusively in relation to a particular commodity type: monetary rewards. The present study sought to isolate magnitude effects from a particular quality of monetary rewards: fungibility. A 2X3 within subjects ANOVA was used to examine the relation between conditioned reinforcer amount ($100 and $1,000) across a range of differentially fungible outcomes (VISA gift cards, gift cards to Old Navy, and gift cards to Old Navy that can only be exchanged for socks). There was a significant magnitude effect, where large amounts were discounted less steeply than small amounts. There was also a significant effect of reinforcer fungibility. The least fungible outcome (gift cards to Old Navy that can only be exchanged for socks) was discounted the most and differed significantly from the more fungible outcomes (Old Navy gift cards and VISA gift cards), which, in turn, were not significantly different from each other. Given the current findings, alternative delay discounting research paradigms are proposed—future research should consider holding conditioned reinforcer amount constant across a range of more systematically manipulated fungible outcomes.
Williams, David A. Jr., "Delay discounting: Are magnitude effects moderated by domain effects?" (2015). Masters Theses. 31.