Advertisement

Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 82–90 | Cite as

Laboratory behavioral measures of impulsivity

  • Donald M. Dougherty
  • Charles W. Mathias
  • Dawn M. Marsh
  • Ashley A. Jagar
Article

Abstract

Previous research and theory have conceptualized impulsivity as a multifaceted construct that requires multiple modes of measurement for accurate assessment. This article describes a software package that includes four paradigms for measuring multiple and unique aspects of impulsivity. Specifically, four tasks are described: (1) the two choice impulsivity paradigm, (2) the single key impulsivity paradigm, (3) the GoStop impulsivity paradigm, and (4) the time paradigm. These tasks measure processes related to the capacity to tolerate delay for reward, to inhibit an already initiated response, and to estimate the passage of time. These processes have been found to be important to the understanding of impulsive behaviors. The programs are flexible and allow the experimenter to manipulate a number of parameters related to delay-reward contingencies, timing, performance feedback/payment, and data output variables. Manipulation of these parameters makes the paradigms scalable to a wide range of ability levels and appropriate for samples ranging from children to adults. The four paradigms in this software package are available at no cost and can be obtained by contacting the corresponding author.

Keywords

Stop Signal Time Perception Race Model Disruptive Behavior Disorder Borderline Personality Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ainslie, G. (1975). Specious reward: A behavioral theory of impulsiveness and impulse control.Psychological Bulletin,82, 463–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baechler, J. (1980). A strategic theory.Suicide & Life-Threatening Behavior,10, 70–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Band, P. H., van der Molen, M. W., &Logan, G. D. (2003). Horserace model simulations of the stop-signal procedure.Acta Psychologica,112, 105–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barratt, E. S. (1985). Impulsiveness subtraits: Arousal and information processing. In J. T. Spence & C. E. Izard (Eds.),Motivation, emotion, and personality (pp. 137–146). New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  5. Barratt, E. S., &Patton, J. H. (1983). Impulsivity: Cognitive, behavioral and psychophysiological correlates. In M. Zuckerman (Ed.),Biological bases of sensation seeking, impulsivity, and anxiety (pp. 77–122). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Barratt, E. S., &Slaughter, L. (1998). Defining, measuring, and predicting impulsive aggression: A heuristic model.Behavioral Sciences & the Law,16, 285–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barratt, E. S., Stanford, M. S., Kent, T. A., &Felthous, A. (1997). Neuropsychological and cognitive psychophysiological substrates of impulsive aggression.Biological Psychiatry,41, 1045–1047.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baumeister, R. F. (1990). Suicide as escape from self.Psychological Review,97, 90–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bjork, J. M., Dougherty, D. M., Moeller, F. G., Harper, R. A., Scott-Gurnell, K., &Swann, A. C. (2000). Laboratory measures of impulsivity in hospitalized adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders.Biological Psychiatry,47, 489.Google Scholar
  10. Carrillo de la Peña, M. T., &Barratt, E. S. (1993). Impulsivity and ERP augmenting-reducing.Personality & Individual Differences,15, 25–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cherek, D. R., Moeller, F. G., Dougherty, D. M., &Rhoades, H. (1997). Studies of violent and nonviolent male parolees: II. Laboratory and psychometric measurements of impulsivity.Biological Psychiatry,41, 523–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dougherty, D. M., Bjork, J. M., Harper, R. A., Marsh, D. M., Moeller, F. G., &Mathias, C. W. (2003). Behavioral impulsivity paradigms: A comparison in hospitalized adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders.Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines,44, 1145–1157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dougherty, D. M., Bjork, J. M., Harper, R. A., Mathias, C. W., Moeller, F. G., &Marsh, D. M. (2003). Concurrent validation of the immediate and delayed memory tasks in hospitalized adolescents with disruptive behavior disorders.Psychological Record,53, 509–532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dougherty, D. M., Bjork, J. M., Huckabee, H. C. G., Moeller, F. G., &Swann, A. C. (1999). Laboratory measures of aggression and impulsivity in women with borderline personality disorder.Psychiatry Research,85, 315–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dougherty, D. M., Marsh, D. M., &Mathias, C. W. (2002). Immediate and delayed memory task: A computerized behavioral measures of memory, attention, and impulsivity.Behavioral Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers,34, 391–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dougherty, D. M., Mathias, C. W., &Marsh, D. M. (2003). Laboratory measures of impulsivity. In E. F. Coccaro (Ed.),Aggression: Psychiatric assessment and treatment (pp. 247–265). New York: Dekker.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dougherty, D. M., Mathias, C. W., Marsh, D. M., Moeller, F. G., &Swann, A. C. (2004). Suicidal behaviors and drug abuse: Impulsivity and its assessment.Drug & Alcohol Dependence,76, 593–5105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dougherty, D. M., Wrubel, K. M., Marsh, D. M., Bjork, J. M., & Moeller, F. G. (1999, May).Validation of a new laboratory measure of self-control: A comparison between adults with antisocial personality disorder and normal controls. Paper presented at the 25th Annual Meeting of the Association of Behavior Analysis, Chicago.Google Scholar
  19. Fillmore, M. T., &Vogel-Sprott, M. (2000). Response inhibition under alcohol: Effects of cognitive and motivational conflict.Journal of Studies on Alcohol,61, 239–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gerbing, D. W., Ahadi, S. A., &Patton, J. H. (1987). Toward a conceptualization of impulsivity: Components across behavioral and self-report domains.Multivariate Behavioral Research,22, 357–379.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lawrence, J. B., &Stanford, M. S. (1999). Impulsivity and time of day: Effects on performance and cognitive tempo.Personality & Individual Differences,26, 199–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Loeber, R. (1990). Development and risk factors of juvenile antisocial behavior and delinquency.Clinical Psychology Review,10, 1–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Logan, G. D., Cowan, W. B., &Davis, K. A. (1984). On the ability to inhibit responses in simple and choice reaction time tasks: A model and a method.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance,10, 276–291.Google Scholar
  24. Logan, G. D., Schachar, R. J., &Tannock, R. (1997). Impulsivity and inhibitory control.Psychological Science,8, 60–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marsh, D. M., Dougherty, D. M., & Mathias, C. W. (2004, April).Conduct disorder age of onset and reward-directed impulsivity. Paper presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Psychological Association, San Antonio.Google Scholar
  26. Marsh, D. M., Dougherty, D. M., Mathias, C. W., Moeller, F. G., &Hicks, L. R. (2002). Comparison of women with high and low trait impulsivity using laboratory impulsivity models of responsedisinhibition and reward-choice.Personality & Individual Differences,33, 1291–1310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. D. A., & Tester, M. L. (2004, March).Subtypes of aggression in conduct disorder: Differences in time estimation. Poster presented at the 10th Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  28. Mathias, C. W., Dougherty, D. M., Marsh, D. M., Moeller, F. G., Hicks, L. R., Dasher, K., &Bar-Eli, L. (2002). Laboratory measures of impulsivity: A comparison of women with or without childhood aggression.Psychological Record,52, 289–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mathias, C. W., Marsh, D. M., &Dougherty, D. M. (2002). Reliability estimates for the immediate and delayed memory tasks.Perceptual & Motor Skills,95, 559–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Moeller, F. G., Barratt, E. S., Dougherty, D. M., Schmitz, J. M., &Swann, A. C. (2001). Psychiatric aspects of impulsivity.American Journal of Psychiatry,158, 1783–1793.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Moeller, F. G., Dougherty, D. M., Barratt, E. S., Oderinde, V., Mathias, C. W., Harper, R. A., &Swann, A. C. (2002). Increased impulsivity in cocaine dependent subjects independent of antisocial personality disorder and aggression.Drug & Alcohol Dependence,68, 105–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nigg, J. T. (2000). On inhibition/disinhibition in developmental psychopathology: Views from cognitive and personality psychology and working inhibition taxonomy.Psychological Bulletin,126, 220–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Quay, H. C. (1988). The behavioral reward and inhibition system in childhood behavior disorder. In L. M. Bloomingdale (Ed.),Attention deficit disorder (Vol. 3, pp. 176–186). New York: Spectrum.Google Scholar
  34. Rachlin, H. (2000).The science of self-control. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Rachlin, H., Raineri, A., &Cross, D. (1991). Subjective probability and delay.Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior,55, 233–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rodríguez-Fornells, A., Lorenzo-Seva, U., &Andrés-Pueyo, A. (2002). Are high-impulsive and high risk-taking people more motor disinhibited in the presence of incentive?Personality & Individual Differences,32, 661–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Schachar, R. J., Tannock, R., &Logan, G. (1993). Inhibitory control, impulsiveness, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.Clinical Psychology Review,13, 721–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Swann, A. C., Bjork, J. M., Moeller, F. G., &Dougherty, D. M. (2002). Two models of impulsivity: Relationship to personality traits and psychopathology.Biological Psychiatry,51, 988–994.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Williams, B. R., Ponesse, J. S., Schachar, R. J., Logan, G. D., &Tannock, R. (1999). Development of inhibitory control across the lifespan.Developmental Psychology,35, 205–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald M. Dougherty
    • 1
  • Charles W. Mathias
    • 1
  • Dawn M. Marsh
    • 1
  • Ashley A. Jagar
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, School of MedicineWake Forest University Health SciencesWinston-Salem
  2. 2.University of Texas Health Science CenterHouston

Personalised recommendations