Measuring delay discounting in a crowdsourced sample: An exploratory study.

Amanda Rotella, Cody Fogg, Sandeep Mishra, Pat Barclay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Delay discounting is a measure of preferences for smaller immediate rewards over larger delayed rewards. Discounting has been assessed in many ways; these methods have variably and inconsistently involved measures of different lengths (single vs. multiple items), forced-choice methods, self-report methods, online and laboratory assessments, monetary and non-monetary compensation. The majority of these studies have been conducted in laboratory settings. However, over the past 20 years, behavioral data collection has increasingly shifted online. Usually, these experiments involve completing short tasks for small amounts of money, and are thus qualitatively different than experiments in the lab, which are typically more involved and in a strongly controlled environment. The present study aimed to determine how to best measure future discounting in a crowdsourced sample using three discounting measures (a single shot measure, the 27-item Kirby Monetary Choice Questionnaire, and a one-time Matching Task). We examined associations of these measures with theoretically related variables, and assessed influence of payment on responding. Results indicated that correlations between the discounting tasks and conceptually related measures were smaller than in prior laboratory experiments. Moreover, our results suggest providing monetary compensation may attenuate correlations between discounting measures and related variables. These findings suggest that incentivizing discounting measures changes the nature of measurement in these tasks.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-527
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number6
Early online date3 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


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