Test–Retest Reliability and Construct Validity of the Experiential Discounting Task

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Abstract

Delay discounting (the devaluation of delayed rewards) has been studied extensively using animal models with psychophysical adjustment procedures. Similar procedures have been developed to assess delay discounting in humans and these procedures most often use hypothetical rewards and delays. The Experiential Discounting Task (EDT) was developed to assess human delay discounting using real rewards and delays. In the present study we examined the test–retest reliability and construct validity of the EDT. Construct validity was evaluated by comparing it with a standard delay discounting task. The EDT had poor test–retest reliability and discounting rates obtained with this task were uncorrelated with those obtained in the standard delay discounting task. Area under the EDT discounting curve was negatively correlated with scores on a measure of boredom proneness (i.e., individuals prone to boredom more steeply discounted delayed money in the EDT). This correlation may underlie previous reports that discounting in the EDT is correlated with addictions, as some evidence suggests boredom proneness is correlated with gambling, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and sensation seeking. Boredom proneness scores were correlated with no other measure of discounting. These findings suggest the EDT measures a different construct than that measured by traditional delay discounting tasks.

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