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Positive Time Preference for Monetary Sequences of Rewards: the Role of Temporal Spacing

Wojciech Białaszek 1  ,  
Paweł Ostaszewski 1  ,  
 
1
SWPS Uniwersytet Humanistycznospołeczny
Studia Psychologiczne 2017;55(2):26–34
Publish date: 2017-02-07
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ABSTRACT
It is widely recognized that people have a general preference for improvement. In our study we demonstrate that the opposite can be observed if the consequences of our choices are dispersed over time. We address the problem of discounting of delayed sequences, in which hypothetical monetary rewards are arranged in deteriorating, flat, or improving sequences—in which the payments are separated from one another by a short (1 month) or long (5 years) internal delay. One hundred and twenty graduate students completed a dynamic multiple-staircase discounting procedure in a mixed factorial design. We predicted that deteriorating sequences of rewards would be preferred over their improving and flat counterparts. This prediction was confirmed when the internal delay between rewards was long. Participants not always chose the best for first, however. If the consequences of their choices were separated by small internal delay, participants were indifferent between three types of sequences.
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Wojciech Białaszek   
SWPS Uniwersytet Humanistycznospołeczny, Chodakowska 19/31, 03-815 Warszawa, Polska
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eISSN:2300-8520
ISSN:0081-685X