Delay discounting is often considered a universal feature of human choice behavior, but there is controversy over whether it is an individual difference that reflects an underlying psychological trait or a domain-specific behavior. Trait influence on discounting would manifest in (a) highly correlated discount rates for all decisions, regardless of context, and (b) the reflection of discounting behavior in psychometric measures of individual difference. We examined these propositions for consumers making hypothetical decisions with respect to financial returns, health outcomes, and vacation alternatives. Questionnaires were employed to assess discounting rates, and respondents’ (N = 74) cognitive styles were measured by the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI). Results suggested that discounting is a domain-specific behavior rather than a single trait. Individual discounting rates differed markedly among product contexts; moreover, individual differences in cognitive style were not related to discounting behavior.
Foxall, Gordon R.; Doyle, John R.; Yani-de-Soriano, Mirella; and Wells, Victoria K.
"Contexts and Individual Differences as Influences on Consumers’ Delay Discounting,"
The Psychological Record:
4, Article 6.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol61/iss4/6