Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Discounting of Future Returns

  • Arianne Fisher
  • Adam J. ArmijoEmail author
  • W. Trey Hill
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_1939-1



The decrease of perceived value of a particular item as time passes.


All types of organisms are constantly making choices throughout their lives. Some of these choices are simple, with one alternative clearly better than the other. However, other choices that must be made are less clear-cut. When human beings and other organisms make decisions, how do they actually analyze and decide between two alternatives? When faced with the choice between two items that differ only on one factor, individuals should pick a larger value over a smaller value, a reward available sooner over a reward available later, and a more certain reward over a less certain reward (Green and Myerson 2004). These are the basics that determine how organisms make the best possible choices. Nevertheless, this only explains one simple type of choice; in reality, most choices are much more complex and differ on many factors. When multiple...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arianne Fisher
    • 1
  • Adam J. Armijo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • W. Trey Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Fort Hays State UniversityHaysUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyWichita State UniversityWichitaUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Gary L Brase
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychological SciencesKansas State UniversityManhattanUSA