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Title: Cognitive Control and Intertemporal Choice: The Role of Cognitive Control in Impulsive Decision Making
Authors: Getz, Sarah Jean
Advisors: Cohen, Jonathan D.
Norman, Kenneth A.
Contributors: Psychology Department
Keywords: Cognitive Control
Intertemporal Choice
Subjects: Psychology
Cognitive psychology
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to examine the role of cognitive control mechanisms in intertemporal choice (ITC). Six experiments were conducted that were designed to characterize how a cognitive load affects control mechanisms and to investigate the function of these mechanisms in contexts known to facilitate decision-making processes that favor long-term rewards. Chapter 2 describes experiments that show that interference and/or fatigue of control mechanisms resulted in more impulsive ITC decisions. In Chapter 3, behavioral methods were used to compare and examine whether a working memory (WM) load fatigues or interferes with control mechanisms during ITC. Preferences for immediate rewards were examined in both high fatigue and high interference conditions. The results from these studies provided evidence to support the idea that interference with, rather than fatigue of, control mechanisms leads to decisions that are more shortsighted. In Experiment 5 (Chapter 4), a framing paradigm was used to examine whether greater patience is the result of recruitment of cognitive control processes when ITCs are framed as accelerated. Participants in this experiment responded to either delayed or accelerated intertemporal choices while under either a high or low WM load. Results from this experiment did not support the hypothesis that greater recruitment of control mechanisms underlies acceleration effects. Experiment 6 examined whether decreased discounting during future episodic thinking reflects greater exertion of control. A modified future episodic paradigm was used in this experiment, and participants completed intertemporal choices while under either high or low WM load. These results suggest that control does not underlie decreased discounting in future episodic thinking.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Psychology

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