A sample of 109 college students completed a survey to assess how frequently they send or read text messages while driving. In a novel discounting task with a hypothetical scenario in which participants receive a text message while driving, they rated the likelihood of replying to a text message immediately versus waiting to reply until arriving at a destination. The scenario presented several delays to a destination and probabilities of a motor vehicle crash. The likelihood of waiting to reply decreased as a function of both the delay until the destination and the probability of a motor vehicle crash. Self-reported higher frequencies of texting while driving were associated with greater rates of both delay and probability discounting. The degree of delay discounting was altered as a function of the probability of a motor vehicle crash and vice versa. These results suggest that both delay and probability discounting are important underlying mechanisms of drivers' decision to text while driving.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience