Delay and probability discounting in the context of gambling function and expectancies


  • Katie B. Thomas
  • Adam Derenne
  • Jeffrey N. Weatherly



The current study investigated the relationship between two forms of discounting (delay and probability) and two measures of factors that may maintain gambling behavior (behavioral contingencies and expectancies). Participants (272 undergraduates) completed discounting questions for scenarios of gaining or losing $1,000 or $100,000 with uncertain or delayed outcomes. They also filled out the South Oaks Gambling Screen, the Gambling Functional Assessment -Revised, and the Gambling Expectancies Questionnaire. Results showed that gambling for positive reinforcement was consistently the best predictor of discounting, suggesting that the function of gambling behavior may be a better predictor of discounting than are the emotional expectancies of gambling. However, the direction of the relationship was inconsistent, with function negatively predicting discounting of both uncertain gains and losses. No consistent relationship was found between discounting and gambling for negative reinforcement or emotional expectancies. Results were generally the same when non-gamblers were excluded from the analyses. The results suggest that studying gambling function may be an informative pursuit.






Original Article

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