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.


38th Annual Convention; Seattle, WA; 2012

Event Details

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Symposium #235
CE Offered: BACB
To Choose or Not to Choose: Timing, Perfection, and Offending Behavior
Sunday, May 27, 2012
3:30 PM–4:50 PM
609 (Convention Center)
Area: EAB/TPC; Domain: Basic Research
Chair: Suzanne H. Mitchell (Oregon Health & Science University)
Discussant: Darlene E. Crone-Todd (Salem State University)
CE Instructor: Darlene E. Crone-Todd, Ph.D.
Abstract: The theme of this symposium is the use of discounting measures (which are well-established in the experimental analysis of behavior) in applied research and in clinical populations. These procedures involve having participants choose between smaller, immediate rewards versus larger, delayed rewards. The extent to which they choose a more immediate reward over the delayed reward is used to determine the degree of “impulsivity” on the part of the participant. The first presentation will present data on the role of time constraints on choice behavior. The second presentation will discuss multiple measures of “perfectionism”, and how they correlate with various measures of discounting. The third presentation will present data related to criminal self-report data and discounting. Discussion of all three will focus on the findings, limitations, and future directions.
Keyword(s): choice behavior, concurrent schedules, discounting, impulsivity
An Investigation of Time Constraints on Delay Discounting Tasks
RICHARD HENNIGAN (Salem State University), Darlene E. Crone-Todd (Salem State University)
Abstract: Delay discounting has been used to study the degree of impulsivity (or, conversely, self-control) that participants demonstrate when faced with a choice between a small, immediate reward and a larger, delayed reward. Previous delayed discounting research reveals a systematic relationship between the magnitude and temporal proximity of monetary rewards, which is typically explained by hyperbolic discounting models. Using hypothetical rewards (e.g., $100 and $5000) on a delayed discounting task, the current research investigates the effects of adding varying time constraints (e.g., none, 24 min, and 16 min) to the task in order to introduce a controlled influence on choice behavior. An analysis of the data indicated that there is a direct relationship between the degree of time constraint and choice behavior: no constraint produces less impulsive responses, followed by a generous time limit (24 minutes), and a more constrained limit (16 minutes). The findings have important experimental and applied implications that will be discussed in this presentation.
The Relationship Between Measures of Discounting and Perfectionism
PAUL ROMANOVICH (California State University, Chico)
Abstract: “Perfectionism” is positively correlated with several psychological and physical disorders. Increased delay discounting, as a measure of impulsivity, is correlated with drug abuse, and several self-report measures of personality disorders. However, there have been no studies to measure the association between perfectionism and measures of delay, group, and social discounting. In this study we correlated participants’ measured perfectionism on the Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (FMPS) with measures discounting. The results suggest that delay and group discounting are positively correlated, but social discounting does not significantly correlate with the other discounting measures. Also, the total FMPS score does not correlate with any of the measures of discounting. However, participants’ scores on individual dimensions of the FMPS were significantly correlated with measures of both delay and group discounting: the Concern over Mistakes, Personal Standards, and Parental Expectations were all negatively correlated with measures of delay and group discounting. This suggests that participants who rated themselves as having higher concern over making mistakes and personal standards had, on average, lower levels of discounting. The results are in the opposite direction than in previous research: The more severe the self-rated perfectionism, the less participants discount hypothetical money, either alone or in groups.
Temporal Discounting and Criminal Thinking: Evidence from Incarcerated Male Offenders
SHAWN R. CHARLTON (University of Central Arkansas), Femina Varghese (University of Central Arkansas)
Abstract: Criminal behavior is often conceptualized as an action that produces short-term gains at the expense of long-term benefits. Accordingly, it is possible that temporal discount rates, a general index of the weight given to temporally delayed reinforcers/outcomes, may be related to the tendency to engage in criminal thinking. The current study asked male offenders in the Arkansas Department of Corrections to complete a series of questions including: the Monetary Choice Questionnaire (a 27-item measure of temporal discounting; Kirby et al., 1997), the Career Aspirations Scale (Gray & O’Brien, 2006), and the Psychological Inventory of Criminal Thinking (PICTS; Walters, 2001). Results from the study suggest a correlation between discount rates and several subscales of the criminal thinking measure as well as time spent working at a previous job (this correlation was negative, suggesting that lower discount rates correlated with greater time spent in the previous job). However, no correlation was observed between discounting and career aspirations. The results of this study suggest that temporal discount rates, which have previously been shown to correlate with substance abuse, problem gambling, and other clinical behavior patterns, also correlate with accepted measures of criminal behavior in an incarcerated population.



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