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Title Cognitive Control and Intertemporal Choice: The Role of Cognitive Control in Impulsive Decision Making
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Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher Princeton University
Abstract The purpose of this thesis is to examine the role of cognitive control mechanisms in intertemporal choice (ITC). Six experiments were conducted that were designed to characterize how a cognitive load affects control mechanisms and to investigate the function of these mechanisms in contexts known to facilitate decision-making processes that favor long-term rewards. Chapter 2 describes experiments that show that interference and/or fatigue of control mechanisms resulted in more impulsive ITC decisions. In Chapter 3, behavioral methods were used to compare and examine whether a working memory (WM) load fatigues or interferes with control mechanisms during ITC. Preferences for immediate rewards were examined in both high fatigue and high interference conditions. The results from these studies provided evidence to support the idea that interference with, rather than fatigue of, control mechanisms leads to decisions that are more shortsighted. In Experiment 5 (Chapter 4), a framing paradigm was used to examine whether greater patience is the result of recruitment of cognitive control processes when ITCs are framed as accelerated. Participants in this experiment responded to either delayed or accelerated intertemporal choices while under either a high or low WM load. Results from this experiment did not support the hypothesis that greater recruitment of control mechanisms underlies acceleration effects. Experiment 6 examined whether decreased discounting during future episodic thinking reflects greater exertion of control. A modified future episodic paradigm was used in this experiment, and participants completed intertemporal choices while under either high or low WM load. These results suggest that control does not underlie decreased discounting in future episodic thinking.
Subjects/Keywords Cognitive Control; Impulsivity; Intertemporal Choice
Contributors Cohen, Jonathan D (advisor); Norman, Kenneth A (advisor)
Language en
Country of Publication us
Record ID oai:dataspace.princeton.edu:88435/dsp019s161630w
Repository princeton
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2019-10-07
Issued Date 2013-01-01 00:00:00

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…the Thesis Introduction The focus of this thesis is on control processes in intertemporal choice. Intertemporal choice (ITC) involves trade-offs between costs and benefits at different points in time. ITC has important implications for…

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intertemporal choice task. When rTMS was applied to left dlPFC rather than right dlPFC, participants chose immediate options significantly more often. RTMS did not affect judgments in a separate valuation task, which suggests that the role of dlPFC may not be…

…examine the effects of a WM load on intertemporal choice behavior. Specifically, this thesis: (1) examines if a high working memory load leads to greater impulsivity; (2) characterizes whether fatigue or interference of control…

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