Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 785–792 | Cite as

Can a single model account for both risky choices and inter-temporal choices? Testing the assumptions underlying models of risky inter-temporal choice

Brief Report


There is growing interest in modelling how people make choices that involve both risks and delays, i.e., risky inter-temporal choices. We investigated an untested assumption underlying several proposed risky inter-temporal choice models: that pure risky choices and pure inter-temporal choices are special cases of risky inter-temporal choice. We tested this assumption by presenting a single group of participants with risky choices and inter-temporal choices. We then compared the performance of a model that is fit to both choice types simultaneously, with the performance of separate models fit to the risky choice and inter-temporal choice data. We find, using Bayesian model comparison, that the majority of participants are best fit by a single model that incorporates both risky and inter-temporal choices. This result supports the assumption that risky choices and inter-temporal choices may be special cases of risky inter-temporal choice. Our results also suggest that, under the conditions of our experiment, interpretation of monetary value is very similar in risky choices and inter-temporal choices.


Risky choice Inter-temporal choice Utility 



BRN was supported by an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (FT110100151), and an ARC Discovery Project (DP 140101145). CD was supported by an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellowship (DE130100129). AL was supported by a UNSW PhD Scholarship.

Supplementary material

13423_2017_1330_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (334 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 333 kb)


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Center for Economic Psychology, Department of PsychologyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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