Procedural aspects that control discounting rates when using the fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice methods


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Abstract

The present study investigated if and why rates of delay or probability discounting would vary as a function of whether the data were collected using the fill-in-the-blank (FITB) or multiple-choice (MC) method. Participants in Experiment 1 completed a discounting task using either the FITB or MC methods, with the MC groups differing in the number and order of response options. Results showed that the fitb method produced steeper discounting regardless of the mc manipulations. Participants in Experiment 2 completed a discounting task using either the FITB or MC methods, with the FITB groups differing in whether participants were or were not informed of their potential range of responses or shown a list of their possible response options. Results showed that rates of discounting did not differ between the FITB and MC methods when the FITB group was shown the list of possible response options. These results indicate that observed rates of discounting may at least partially reflect procedural artifacts distinct from the process of discounting. Researchers studying discounting, or comparing results across different studies of discounting, should be aware of this possibility.

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