The Intertemporal Task with Discount Titrating is a brief behavioral task that measures delay discounting, which is the tendency to discount the value of rewards to be received in the future. This tendency is reflected by a preference for small rewards received sooner over larger rewards received later. On each trial participants are asked to make an intertemporal choice. That is, they must decide between two options differing in the time they would be received: a sooner, smaller reward and a later, larger reward. In this variant of the task, the later, larger rewards are systematically titrated in small increments to determine the value at which the later, larger rewards are sufficiently abundant that participants opt to for them instead of the sooner, smaller rewards. The task is presented in two phases. In all trials in the first phase, participants choose between the sooner reward being given right away (i.e., today) and the later reward being given at some fixed point in the future (e.g., 3 months). The smaller, sooner reward remains the same for all trials (e.g., $50), whereas the later, larger amounts increase by a set increment from each trial to the next one (e.g., trial 1: $55, trial 2: $60, trial 3: $65, …, trial 11: $105). In contrast, in all trials in the second phase, participants choose between the sooner reward being given in the near future (e.g., 2 months) and the later reward being given substantially further in the future (e.g., 5 months). Again, as in the first phase, the smaller, sooner reward remains the same for all trials (e.g., $30), whereas the later, larger amounts increase by a set increment from each trial to the next one (e.g., trial 1: $35, trial 2: $40, trial 3: $45, …, trial 11: $85). The dependent measure is the switching point corresponding to the minimum later reward value at which the participant opts for the later reward rather than the sooner reward. A lower switching point reflects greater delay discounting.
The Intertemporal Choice Task with Discount Titrating is a behavioral measure of temporal discounting, the tendency for people to prefer smaller, immediate rewards over larger, delayed rewards (see also Delay Discounting Task in this Measures Repository; Kirby & Maraković, 1996). Delay discounting is believed to be related to the domain of self-regulation. This construct is associated with a variety of unhealthy behaviors (Daugherty & Brase, 2010) and thus may be a mechanism of behavior change.
[+] PMCID, PUBMED ID, or CITATION
Text Citation: Daugherty, J. R., & Brase, G. L. (2010). Taking time to be healthy: Predicting health behaviors with delay discounting and time perspective. Personality and Individual differences, 48(2), 202-207.
Text Citation: Figner, B., Knoch, D., Johnson, E. J., Krosch, A. R., Lisanby, S. H., Fehr, E., & Weber, E. U. (2010). Lateral prefrontal cortex and self-control in intertemporal choice. Nature Neuroscience, 13(5), 538-539.
Text Citation: Kirby, K. N., & Maraković, N. N. (1996). Delay-discounting probabilistic rewards: Rates
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The Science of Behavior Change (SOBC) program seeks to promote basic research on the initiation, personalization and maintenance of behavior change. By integrating work across disciplines, this effort will lead to an improved understanding of the underlying principles of behavior change. The SOBC program aims to implement a mechanisms-focused, experimental medicine approach to behavior change research and to develop the tools required to implement such an approach. The experimental medicine approach involves: identifying an intervention target, developing measures to permit verification of the target, engaging the target through experimentation or intervention, and testing the degree to which target engagement produces the desired behavior change.
Within the SOBC Measures Repository, researchers have access to measures of mechanistic targets that have been (or are in the processing of being) validated by SOBC Research Network Members and other experts in the field. The SOBC Validation Process includes three important stages of evaluation for each proposed measure: Identification, Measurement, and Influence.
The first stage of validation requires a measure to be Identified within the field; there must be theoretical support for the specific measure of the proposed mechanistic target or potential mechanism of behavior change. This evidence may include references for the proposed measure, or theoretical support for the construct that the proposed measure is intended to assess. The second stage of validation requires demonstration that the level and change in level of the chosen mechanistic target can be Measured with the proposed measure (assay). For example, if the proposed measure is a questionnaire, the score on the measure should indicate the activity of the target process, and it must have strong psychometric properties. The third stage of validation requires demonstration that the measure can be Influenced; there must be evidence that the measured target is malleable and responsive to manipulation. Evidence relating to each stage includes at least one peer-reviewed publication or original data presentation (if no peer-reviewed research is available to support the claim) and is evaluated by SOBC Research Network Members and experts in the field.
Once a measure has gone through these three stages, it will then either be Validated or Not validated according to SOBC Research Network standards. If a measure is Validated, then change in the measured target was reliably associated with Behavior Change. If a measure is Not validated, then change in the measured target was not reliably associated with Behavior Change. Why would we share measures that are not validated? The SOBC Research Network values open, rigorous, and transparent research. Our goal is to make meaningful progress and develop replicable and effective interventions in behavior change science. Therefore, the SOBC sees value in providing other researchers in the field with information regarding measures that work and measures that fall short for specific targets. Further, a measure that is not validated for one target in one population may be validated in another target or population.
Want to learn more? For any questions regarding the SOBC Validation Process or Measures Repository, please email email@example.com.
Has the mechanism been identified as a potential target for behavior change? This section summarizes theoretical support for the mechanism.
Have the psychometric properties of this measure been assessed? This section includes information such as content validity, internal consistency, and test-retest reliability.
Has a study manipulation led to change in the mechanism? This section addresses evidence that this measure is modifiable by experimental manipulation or clinical intervention.
Has a change in this mechanism been associated with behavior change? This section addresses empirical evidence that causing change in the measure reliably produces subsequent behavior change.