There is a growing body of literature demonstrating domain effects where the rate of temporal discounting depends, in part, on the commodity being evaluated. The commodity of money, for example, is typically discounted much less steeply than commodities of entertainment or food. There are several plausible explanations for domain effects: differences in conditioned reinforcer status, degree of fungibility, and differences in metabolic function. While money can be thought of as a conditioned reinforcer exchangeable for a number of different outcomes (highly fungible), comparing money to food (non-fungible) does not separate whether the difference in rates of discounting are due to food having metabolic importance, being perishable, being less fungible, or all of the above. We systematically manipulated the degree of fungibility and perishability of various outcomes and found that while food outcomes tend to be discounted most steeply, the rate of discounting for these outcomes can be moderated by reducing perishability and by increasing fungibility. Important here is that we have identified two independent means of moderating the effect of delay on the value of the outcome.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Behavioral Neuroscience