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ERIC Number: EJ838379
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-0033-2933
Temporal Discounting of Hypothetical Monetary Rewards by Adolescents, Adults, and Older Adults
Whelan, Robert; McHugh, Louise A.
Psychological Record, v59 n2 p247-258 Spr 2009
The present experiment examined temporal discounting across 3 different age bands: adolescents, adults, and older adults (mean ages 14, 46, and 73 years, respectively). A computerized task was employed in which participants were asked to choose between larger rewards available at a specified time in the future--either 100 British Pounds or 1,000 British Pounds (approximately 200 US dollar and 2,000 US dollar, respectively)--or a smaller reward available immediately. The subjective value of the reward decreased with increasing delay for each of the 3 age groups. A hyperbola-like function adequately described the group discounting data. The adolescent group discounted significantly more than the adult group when the larger later reward (LLR) was 100 British Pounds but not when the LLR was 1,000 British Pounds. The adolescents discounted significantly more than the older adult group when the LLR was either 100 British Pounds or 1,000 British Pounds. There were no significant differences in discounting between the adult and older adult groups. The results of the present study suggest that the rate of temporal discounting is higher in adolescents than in adults but is stable from middle adulthood to older adulthood. Furthermore, the process of temporal discounting appears to be quantitatively similar across the life span. (Contains 2 figures and 3 tables.)
Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Mailcode 4609, Rehabilitation Institute, Carbondale, IL 62901-4609. Tel: 618-536-7704; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom