Altruism in time: social temporal discounting differentiates smokers from problem drinkers
- 568 Downloads
Recent studies on reinforcer valuation in social situations have informed research on mental illness. Social temporal discounting may be a way to examine effects of social context on the devaluation of delayed reinforcers. In prior research with non-drug-using groups, we demonstrated that individuals discount delayed rewards less rapidly (i.e., value the future more) for a group of which they are a member than they do for themselves alone.
The current study examined how cigarette smoking and level of alcohol use relate to rates of delay and social temporal discounting.
In this study, we used crowd-sourcing technology to contact a large number of individuals (N = 796). Some of these individuals were hazardous-to-harmful drinkers (n = 269), whereas others were non-problem drinkers (n = 523); some were smokers (n = 182), whereas others were nonsmokers (n = 614). Delay discounting questionnaires for individual rewards (me now, me later) and for group rewards (we now, we later; me now, we later) were used to measure individuals’ discounting rates across various social contexts.
Our analyses found that smokers discounted delayed rewards more rapidly than controls under all conditions. However, hazardous-to-harmful drinkers discounted delayed rewards significantly more rapidly than the non-problem drinkers under the individual condition, but not under the social conditions.
This finding suggests that the use of different abused drugs may be associated with excessive discounting in the individual condition and has selective effects when discounting for a group in the social conditions.
KeywordsAlcohol Nicotine Delay discounting Social Group Trust Human
This work was funded by NIDA Grants R01 DA 024080, R01 DA 024080-02S1 (NIAAA), R01 DA 030241 and the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute. The authors would like to thank Patsy Marshall for assistance with manuscript preparation.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflict of interest.
- Babor TF, Higgins-Biddle JC, Saunders JB, Monteiro MG (2001) The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test: guidelines for use in primary care. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar
- Bickel WK, Jarmolowicz DP, MacKillop J, Epstein LH, Carr K, Mueller ET, Waltz TJ (2012a) The behavioral economics of reinforcement pathologies: novel approaches to addictive disorders. In: Shaffer HJ (ed) APA addiction syndrome handbook. APA, Washington, DC, p 1968 (APA Handbooks in Psychology and APA Reference Books)Google Scholar
- Charlton SR, Yi R, Porter C, Carter AE, Bickel WK, Rachlin H (2012) Now for me, later for us? Effects of group context on temporal discounting. J Behav Decis Making. doi: 10.1002/bdm.766
- Courtney KE, Arellano R, Barkley-Levenson E, Galvan A, Poldrack RA, Mackillop J, David Jentsch J, Ray LA (2011) The relationship between measures of impulsivity and alcohol misuse: an integrative structural equation modeling approach. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01635.x
- Du W, Green L, Myerson J (2002) Cross-cultural comparisons of discounting delayed and probabilistic rewards. The Psychological Record 52:479–492Google Scholar
- Gallus S, Rosato V, Zuccaro P, Pacifici R, Colombo P, Manzari M, La Vecchia C (2011) Attitudes towards the extension of smoking restrictions to selected outdoor areas in Italy. Tob Control. doi: 10.1136/tc.2010.040774
- Johnson MW, Bruner NR (2011) The Sexual Discounting Task: HIV risk behavior and the discounting of delayed sexual rewards in cocaine dependence. Drug Alcohol DependGoogle Scholar
- Kishida KT, Montague PR (2012) Imaging models of valuation during social interaction in humans. Biol Psychiatry. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2012.02.037
- Koffarnus MN, Jarmolowicz DP, Mueller ET, Bickel WK (2012) Changing discounting in light of the competing neurobehavioral decision systems theory. J Exp Anal Behav (in press)Google Scholar
- Lin EY, Witten K, Casswell S, You RQ (2011) Neighbourhood matters: perceptions of neighbourhood cohesiveness and associations with alcohol, cannabis and tobacco use. Drug Alcohol Rev. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00385.x
- Mazur JE (1987) An adjusting procedure for studying delayed reinforcement. In: Commons ML, Mazur JE, Nevin JA, Rachlin H (eds) Quantitative analysis of behavior. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 55–73Google Scholar
- Wood AM, Brown GD, Maltby J (2011) Social norm influences on evaluations of the risks associated with alcohol consumption: applying the rank-based decision by sampling model to health judgments. Alcohol Alcohol. doi: 10.1093/alcalc/agr146