ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (3): 431-437.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.00431

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Is intertemporal choice alternative-based or attribute-based?

SUN Hong-Yue1; JIANG Cheng-Ming2   

  1. (1 College of Education, Shanghai Normal University, Shanghai 200234, China)
    (2 College of Economics and Management, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310023, China)
  • Received:2015-09-22 Online:2016-03-15 Published:2016-03-15
  • Contact: JIANG Cheng-Ming, E-mail:或


Based on information processing, models of intertemporal choice can be classified into two broad classes: alternative-based models and attribute-based models. The former assume that options are independently assigned an overall value. These values are then compared, and the option with the highest value is chosen. The latter assumes that options are directly compared along their attributes, and the option favored by these comparisons is chosen. This paper reviews recent evidence supporting the attribute-based models with regard to behavioral results, process data and violations of assumptions of the alternative-based models. The paper suggests that, researchers should strengthen process-oriented studies by adopting cognitive experiments and eye-tracking techniques, conduct fMRI studies with the guidance of the attribute-based models, and expand the research of intertemporal choice into the loss domain.

Key words: intertemporal choice, alternative-based model, attribute-based model