Delay discounting is a term coined by those researching various types of impulsivity: risky behaviors, ADHD, gambling, obesity, etc. In appears that people may be inclined to one form of delay discounting over another. And monetary delay discounting is predictive of a number of serious problems (e.g., obesity, willingness to share needles with other drug users, sexual acting out).
One researcher defined delay discounting as a,
preference for smaller, immediate rewards over larger, delayed rewards.
It can also be used to explain why I say yes to things long in the future without adequately counting the cost. I jump at the impulse to do something fun or interesting without adequately evaluating just how much work is involved. What is interesting is that many of us “delay discounters” fail to learn from our experiences. I’d like to think I can learn from mistakes and sometimes we do…for a short-time. But memory for the pain of saying yes fades and then I’m back saying yes without fully counting the cost.
How about you? Are you a delay discounter? What entices you to discount the cost?
Feel free to respond but I won’t be able to get back to you…I’m off to an academic presentation in Indianapolis that I agreed to 9 months ago, something I signed up for without thinking fully about the timing in the semester.