Intertemporal Decision Making After Brain Injury: Amount-Dependent Steeper Discounting after Frontal Cortex Damage

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Abstract

Traumatic brain injuries to the frontal lobes are associated with many maladaptive forms of behavior. We investigated the association between brain damage and impulsivity, as measured by the rate of delay discounting (i.e., the extent to which future outcomes are devalued in time). The main aim of this study was to test the hypothesis of steeper discounting of different amounts in a group of patients with frontal lobe damage. We used a delay discounting task in the form of a structured interview. A total of 117 participants were divided into five groups: three neurological groups and two groups without brain damage. Our analyses showed that patients with focal damage to the frontal lobes demonstrated steeper delay discounting than other participants. Other clinical groups demonstrated similar discounting rates. The data pattern related to the magnitude effect on the group level suggested that the magnitude effect is absent in the group of patients with damage to the frontal lobes; however, results were less consistent on an individual level. Amount-dependent discounting was observed in only two groups, the healthy control group and the neurological group with other cortical areas damaged.

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Polish Psychological Bulletin

The Journal of Committee for Psychological Sciences of Polish Academy of Sciences

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CiteScore 2016: 0.33

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.185
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.258

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