252878 Reducing Delay discounting with Future Episodic Thinking

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tinuke Oluyomi, BSc , Community Health and Health Behavior, SUNY: University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Leonard Epstein, PhD , Department of Pediatrics: Division of Behavioral Medicine, SUNY: University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
Intertemporal decision-making is a part of life; people make decisions constantly negotiating immediate gratification and future outcomes and goals (Epstein, Salvy, Carr, Dearing and Bickel, 2010). Delay discounting; the extent, to which a person values an immediate reward over future consequences, is considered an index of impulsivity (Epstein et al, 2003) that is associated with suboptimal health behaviors like alcohol abuse, drug dependency and obesity (Bickel et al, 2010, Epstein et al, 2003). Future episodic thinking has been demonstrated to reduce delay discounting (DD) (Peters and Buchel, 2010). This study investigated the efficacy of this technique in reducing DD when compared to control thinking and imagery task. Participants attended two sessions, in one session, participants were required to generate future events with vivid episodic imagery and associations and then think about these events while completing a DD task. In the other session, participants were required to read an excerpt from a story and generate positive events with vivid imagery and think about these events as they completed a DD task. The DD task required participants to make choices between immediate and delayed rewards. A mixed-design anova revealed participants significantly discounted less in the future oriented sessions (AUC=.704 , p=.043), compared to control sessions (AUC=.683 , p=.043). AUC values closer to 1 indicate less steep discounting. These results suggest that future episodic thinking may be efficacious in improving DD and future research should focus on its use in populations known for higher rates of delay discounting and risky health behaviors.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the use of episodic future thinking in reducing impulsivity.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a PHD candidate in the Department of Community Health and health behaviors at SUNY Buffalo, and conduct research at SUNY Buffalo, Department of Pediatrics Division of Behavioral medicine. I have research experience studying health related behaviors such as impulsivity, motivation to eat (food reinforcement) and other health behaviors associated with weight loss.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.