Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.

  • AAB: Applied Animal Behavior

    AUT: Autism

    BPH: Behavioral Pharmacology

    CBM: Clinical/Family/Behavioral Medicine

    CSE: Community Interventions, Social and Ethical Issues

    DDA: Developmental Disabilities

    EAB: Experimental Analysis of Behavior

    EDC: Education

    OBM: Organizational Behavior Management

    TPC: Theoretical, Philosophical, and Conceptual Issues


    SCI: Science

    OTH: Other

2011 Behavioral Economics Conference

Event Details

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Poster Session #4
CBM Poster Session
Friday, March 25, 2011
7:00 PM–9:00 PM
The Club at 151

Delay Discounting, Obesity, and Binge Eating: Preliminary Findings

Area: CBM; Domain: Service Delivery
MONIKA STOJEK (University of Georgia), James MacKillop (University of Georgia), Cara Murphy (University of Georgia)

There is increasing interest in applying theories and approaches for understanding drug addiction to obesity and binge eating disorder. Consistent with this, in the current study, we examined delay discounting, a form of impulsivity consistently found to be higher in individuals with substance use disorders, in relation to obesity and binge eating. We assessed impulsivity using the Monetary Choice Questionnaire (MCQ) in a large community sample of smokers (N = 720) and hypothesized that individuals with dysregulated eating patterns would exhibit greater impulsivity. The primary analyses used the participants' body mass index, categorizing participants as normal weight, overweight, and obese. We found a marginally significant effect for large choices, F (2, 718) = 2.86, p = 0.06. Group comparisons indicated that obese individuals made significantly more impulsive choices of the large magnitude than normal weight individuals (t = 2.32, p < 0.05). In an equivalent sample of normal eaters, binge eaters, and overeaters (n = 80 in each group), analysis of variance revealed no significant differences between the groups. Thus, in this sample, obesity, but not binge eating, was associated with more impulsive discounting. Parallels and inconsistencies with addictive behavior will be discussed.


Delay Discounting and Nicotine Dependence in a Large Community Sample

Area: CBM; Domain: Theory
CARA MURPHY (University of Georgia), James MacKillop (University of Georgia)

Cigarette smoking is the largest preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States and understanding the causes of smoking may inform prevention, treatment, and tobacco policy. The current study examined one candidate cause, delay discounting, which is a behavioral economic index of impulsivity. Adult cigarette smokers (N = 990; 4+/day) completed the Monetary Choice Questionnaire, a validated measure of discounting. Smokers exhibited less impulsivity when making choices about larger amounts of money, reflecting a magnitude effect. Impulsivity was significantly positively associated with cigarettes/day and nicotine dependence, as measured by the Fagerstrom Test of Nicotine Dependence. This remained true after controlling for age, sex, ethnicity, and income. Thus, making impulsive monetary choices appears to be significantly related to how heavily individuals smoke and how dependent they are on nicotine. These findings suggest the need for discounting-oriented treatments and policy strategies highlighting the costs of impulsive spending habits and cumulative losses over time.


Discounting of Clinically Relevant Events: An Important Pathway in Translational Science

Area: CBM; Domain: Experimental Analysis
THOMAS J. WALTZ (University of Nevada, Reno), William C. Follette (University of Nevada, Reno)

The present study is part of a translational research program developing assessment tools for clinical psychology based on behavioral economic measures. Impulsive choice patterns are important features of many mental health presentations. A convenience sample of 411 college students completed online questionnaires that involved inter-temporal discounting tasks with the following clinically relevant events: (a) increases and decreases in social functioning, and (b) increases and decreases in social distress. These types of events were chosen because changes in pleasant and aversive events are often conceptualized differently in clinical practice. Increases and decreases in social functioning were discounted at similar rates with k = 0.0414 and R2 = 0.953, and k = 0.0454 and R2 = 0.971 respectively. Individuals who scored high on social anxiety discounting decreased in social functioning more steeply (AUC = 0.21) than those who scored low on social anxiety (AUC = 0.35; 2-tailed t-test = 0.04). A similar trend was observed for the discounting of increases in social functioning. Discounting of changes in social distress fit the hyperbolic model less well and did not demonstrate differential trends dependent on anxiety. Results suggest these measures may be useful for characterizing behavioral processes underlying psychological functioning in clinical practice.




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