Cuing both positive and negative episodic foresight reduces delay discounting but does not affect risk-taking

Bulley, Adam, Miloyan, Beyon, Pepper, Gillian, Gullo, Matthew, Henry, Julie and Suddendorf, Thomas (2019) Cuing both positive and negative episodic foresight reduces delay discounting but does not affect risk-taking. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 72 (8). pp. 1998-2017. ISSN 1747-0218

Bulley2019-acceptedMS.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview
Official URL:


Humans frequently create mental models of the future, allowing outcomes to be inferred in advance of their occurrence. Recent evidence suggests that imagining positive future events reduces delay discounting (the devaluation of reward with time until its receipt), while imagining negative future events may increase it. Here, using a sample of 297 participants, we experimentally assess the effects of cued episodic simulation of positive and negative future scenarios on decision-making in the context of both delay discounting (monetary choice questionnaire) and risk-taking (balloon-analogue risk task). Participants discounted the future less when cued to imagine positive and negative future scenarios than they did when cued to engage in control neutral imagery. There were no effects of experimental condition on risk-taking. Thus, although these results replicate previous findings suggesting episodic future simulation can reduce delay discounting, they indicate that this effect is not dependent on the valence of the thoughts, and does not generalise to all other forms of “impulsive” decision-making. We discuss various interpretations of these results, and suggest avenues for further research on the role of prospection in decision-making.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2019 08:38
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2023 11:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics