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Preliminary Evaluation of Delay Discounting and Cell Phone Use in the College Classroom

Abstract

Delay discounting is a behavioral measure of impulsivity in which respondents choose between hypothetical smaller immediate rewards (SIR) or larger delayed rewards (LDR). Delay discounting questionnaires quantify impulsivity by calculating the rate that delayed rewards lose their subjective value for a particular participant or group. The purpose of the present study was to collect additional evidence on the relation of delay discounting and cell phone use in the college classroom. College students at the undergraduate and graduate level (N = 43) completed a brief survey about their cell phone use in the classroom as well as a delay discounting questionnaire. The primary dependent measures were self-reported duration and rate of cell phone use. Pearson product-moment correlations were calculated between participant characteristics and delay discounting rates. Hierarchical linear regression models were used to adjust for basic demographic variables and measure the independent effect of delay discounting rates on cell phone use. Delay discounting rates were correlated with age (r(39) = -.39, p = .012), duration of cell phone use (r(41) = .42, p = .005), and rate of cell phone use per hr (r(40) = .34, p = .026). Delay discounting rate significantly predicted duration of cell phone use after adjusting for age and sex (B = 0.31, SE = 0.13, p = .023). Delay discounting rate did not predict rate of classroom cell phone use in the regression model (p = .14), nor did it alter the predictive utility of the model (p = .14).

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Correspondence to Ryan Redner.

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Redner, R., Hirst, J. Preliminary Evaluation of Delay Discounting and Cell Phone Use in the College Classroom. Psychol Rec 71, 191–198 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-020-00405-2

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Keywords

  • Delay discounting
  • Impulsivity
  • Cell phone use
  • College classroom