Interactions between impulsive and risky decision making and their implications on psychiatric disorders

  • Lopez Guzman, Silvia (CoI)
  • Konova, Anna B (CoI)
  • Glimcher, Paul W (PI)

Project: Research Project

Project Details


The use of intertemporal choice paradigms with measures of temporal discounting is now the "gold standard" method for the objective quantitation of impulsive choice (impatience) in neuroscience, psychology, behavioral economics, public health, and more recently, computational psychiatry. Individual differences in the levels of discounting are an area of growing interest, to determine whether they predispose to (or protect against) mental health disorders, addictive behaviors, or other diseases.
In parallel, more and more studies have emerged that focus on the quantitation of individual attitudes toward risk, which have now been measured both in healthy and diverse clinical populations, by employing the aforementioned techniques.

In psychiatry and psychology the differentiation between impulsivity and risk attitudes has not always been clear but they are generally considered distinct dimensions of behavior that need not always coexist in the same diagnosis.

Economists have identified interactions between individual preferences for time (temporal discounting) and individual preferences for risk, which may distort estimations of the discount rate. However, although it is becoming standard practice in economics, discount rates are rarely measured simultaneously with risk preferences in the same individuals in other fields of science. This distortion's potential effect on the evaluation of individual differences is not known because most of the existing studies in economics pool their analyses at the group level and are not concerned with individual attitudes. We have demonstrated that traditional computational models lead to a systematic error in the estimation of discount rates. This may lead to the erroneous conclusion that there exist differences in the levels of impulsivity (impatience) in groups of individuals when in fact there are differences in the levels of aversion or proclivity for risk. Our previous studies have developed mechanisms to account for this distortion, through the incorporation of other tasks and the use of more precise computational models. In this study we seek to evaluate the implications that the use of this methodology may have for the study of mental disorders.

Commitments / Obligations

Observaciones: atender al acuerdo de propiedad intelectual, falta una pagina del registro del proyecto, argumentación del no del comité de ética.
Short titleInteractions between impulsivity and risk
Effective start/end date3/1/183/1/19

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Main Funding Source

  • International


  • Bogotá D.C.


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