Critchfield, T. S., & Kollins, S. H. (2001). Temporal discounting: Basic research and the analysis of socially important behavior. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 34, 101-122.

Recent basic research on human temporal discounting is reviewed to illustrate procedures, summarize key findings, and draw parallels with both nonhuman animal research and conceptual writings on self-control. Lessons derived from this research are then applied to the challenge of analyzing socially important behaviors such as drug abuse, eating and exercise, and impulsiveness associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Attending to the broader temporal context in which behavior occurs may aid in the analysis of socially important behavior. Applying this perspective to the study of behavior in natural environments also highlights the importance of combining methodological flexibility with conceptual rigor to promote the extension of applied behavior analysis to a broader array of socially important behaviors.

DESCRIPTORS: _temporal discounting, delayed consequences, self control, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, drug abuse