Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

2011 Edition
| Editors: Sam Goldstein, Jack A. Naglieri

Temporal Discounting

  • Derek D. Reed
  • James K. Luiselli
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_3162



The phenomenon in which the value of a reward decreases as the time delay until its receipt increases.


Temporal discounting refers to the phenomenon in which the subjective value of some reward loses its magnitude when the given reward is delayed (see [2]). Similar to the notion of “delayed gratification,” relatively high degrees of discounting are synonymous with impulsivity. On the contrary, when individuals demonstrate a sustained interest and motivation in a delayed reward, they are said to have less discounting, and thereby more self-control. Temporal discounting may be measured via two assessment methods: (1) hypothetical choice trials or (2) choices with deliverable outcomes. During hypothetical choice trials, individuals are presented with the option between a hypothetical smaller sooner reward (e.g., $5 now) and some larger delayed alternative (e.g., $10 in a week). These hypothetical choices...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek D. Reed
    • 1
  • James K. Luiselli
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Applied Behavioral Science4001 Dole Human Development Center, University of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.The May Institute, Inc.RandolphUSA