ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (7): 1047-1061.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.01047

• Special Column for Decision-making Psychology •     Next Articles

The Cognitive and Neural Mechanism of the Delay Discounting: from the Trait and State Perspectives

LIU Lei;SU Ti;PENG Juan;GUO Yiqun;FENG Tingyong   

  1. (Faculty of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China)
  • Received:2014-03-26 Online:2014-07-15 Published:2014-07-15
  • Contact: FENG Tingyong


Delay discounting means that compared with current or recent benefits (or losses), people tend to give future benefits (or losses) less weight, and choose current or recent benefits (or losses). Why are people impulsive? Why do people exhibit the behavior of delay discounting? How can we make people “visionary” and avoid “short-sighted”? All of the problems need to be solved for the research of delay discounting. In recent years, using the behavioral, ERP, and fMRI technologies, we systematically invest cognitive mechanisms, neural basis, and influencing factors of delay discounting behavior from the trait and state delay discounting perspectives. On the one hand, from the trait delay discounting perspective, we examined the neural dissociation between subjective valuation and self-control, the neural prediction between immediate reward option and delayed reward option, and the neural difference of delay discounting behavior for actors and thinkers. On the other hand, from the state delay discounting perspective, we exploited that how framing effects affect individual delay discounting behavior, how wealth and poor cues affect individual delay discounting behavior, and how the emotion of episodic prospection affect individual delay discounting behavior. Our research found that the neural basis of delay discounting included the valuation network and self-control network, and that the modulation of self-control network to valuation network could predict individual delay discounting rate, integrating the different neural theories of delay discounting. In addition, framing effect, wealth and poor cues, and emotion of episodic prospection could affect individual delay discounting behavior. Thus, it is possible to shape individual delay discounting behavior. Our work will provide the theory and practice guidance for the development of behavioral decision making and psychiatry of China.

Key words: delay discounting, trait factors, state factors, cognitive mechanism, neural basis