Temporal discounting predicts student responsiveness to exchange delays in a classroom token system

Derek D. Reed, Brian K. Martens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Typical assessments of temporal discounting involve presenting choices between hypothetical monetary outcomes. Participants choose between smaller immediate rewards and larger delayed rewards to determine how the passage of time affects the subjective value of reinforcement. Few studies, however, have compared such discounting to actual manipulations of reward delay. The present study examined the predictive validity of a temporal discounting procedure developed for use with children. Forty-six sixth-grade students completed a brief discounting assessment and were then exposed to a classwide intervention that involved both immediate and delayed reinforcement in a multiple baseline design across classrooms. The parameters derived from two hyperbolic models of discounting correlated significantly with actual on-task behavior under conditions of immediate and delayed exchange. Implications of temporal discounting assessments for behavioral assessment and treatment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Behavior Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • assessment
  • behavioral economics
  • choice
  • delay discounting
  • self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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