During intertemporal decisions, the value of future rewards decreases as a function of the delay of its receipt (temporal discounting, TD). Since high discount rates have been associated with a series of problematic behaviours and clinical conditions, current research has focused on possible modulators of TD. Specifically, a reduction of individual discount rates has been shown during episodic future thinking (EFT), wherein time intervals are anchored to personal future events. However, it is not entirely clear whether this effect is mediated by a change in the representation of future events (i.e., from abstract to concrete) or by a positive-emotion modulation. Here, we investigated this issue by manipulating the valence of the EFT (i.e., using negative, neutral and positive episodic tags), and by collecting explicit and implicit measures of behaviour. The results showed a significant reduction of TD in all the three emotional conditions compared to the baseline, with differences among them, thus suggesting the existence of a cumulative effect of the concreteness and affective components of the EFT. The analyses of implicit measures additionally revealed that this effect was mediated by a simultaneous increase/decrease of attraction toward the delayed/immediate alternative. Finally, these effects appeared to be modulated by participants' baseline discounting preferences. These findings provide important insights on clinical applications in reward-related disorders.

Concreteness and emotional valence of episodic future thinking (EFT) independently affect the dynamics of intertemporal decisions

Calluso Cinzia
Primo
;
Tosoni Annalisa
Secondo
;
Cannito, Loreta
Penultimo
;
Committeri Giorgia
Ultimo
2019

Abstract

During intertemporal decisions, the value of future rewards decreases as a function of the delay of its receipt (temporal discounting, TD). Since high discount rates have been associated with a series of problematic behaviours and clinical conditions, current research has focused on possible modulators of TD. Specifically, a reduction of individual discount rates has been shown during episodic future thinking (EFT), wherein time intervals are anchored to personal future events. However, it is not entirely clear whether this effect is mediated by a change in the representation of future events (i.e., from abstract to concrete) or by a positive-emotion modulation. Here, we investigated this issue by manipulating the valence of the EFT (i.e., using negative, neutral and positive episodic tags), and by collecting explicit and implicit measures of behaviour. The results showed a significant reduction of TD in all the three emotional conditions compared to the baseline, with differences among them, thus suggesting the existence of a cumulative effect of the concreteness and affective components of the EFT. The analyses of implicit measures additionally revealed that this effect was mediated by a simultaneous increase/decrease of attraction toward the delayed/immediate alternative. Finally, these effects appeared to be modulated by participants' baseline discounting preferences. These findings provide important insights on clinical applications in reward-related disorders.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/709417
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