Delayed discounting of pain with and without monetary reward

Open access


We investigated the effect of monetary rewards on the rate of pain discounting. Our aim, also, was to understand the effect of previous painful dental experiences on the rate of discounting pain. Two groups (N = 148) completed a discounting task. In the first group, delayed pain was weaker than immediate pain, and in the second group delayed pain was stronger than immediate pain. Two conditions were studied: pain was either accompanied by a monetary reward or not. We found that people preferred immediate pain when it was weaker than delayed pain; however, when delayed pain was stronger than immediate pain, there was no clear preference. In both groups the preference for immediate pain was higher when pain was accompanied by a monetary reward. Previous painful experiences were not related to the rate of discounting. It was concluded that the preference for delayed pain depends on the intensity of pain, and it can be modified by rewards that accompany pain.

Brunner, D., & Gibbon, J. (1995). Value of food aggregates: parallel versus serial discounting. Animal Behaviour, 50(6), 1627-1634.

Estes, W.K., & Skinner, B.F. (1941). Some quantitative properties of anxiety. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 29(5), 390.

Estle, S.J., Green, L., Myerson, J., & Holt, D.D. (2006). Differential effects of amount on temporal and probability discounting of gains and losses. Memory & Cognition, 34(4), 914-928.

Foxall, G.R., Doyle, J.R., Yani-de-Soriano, M., & Wells, V.K. (2011). Contexts and individual differences as infl uences on consumers delay discounting. Psychological Record, 61(4), 599-611.

Green, L., Myerson, J., & McFadden, E. (1997). Rate of temporal discounting decreases with amount of reward. Memory & Cognition, 25(5), 715-723.

Hare, R.D. (1966). Preference for delay of shock as a function of its intensity and probability. Psychonomic Science, 5(10), 393-394.

Holt, D.D., Newquist, M.H., Smits, R.R., & Tiry, A.M. (2014). Discounting of food, sex, and money. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 21(3), 794-802.

Jarmolowicz, D.P., Landes, R.D., Christensen, D.R., Jones, B.A., Jackson, L., Yi, R., & Bickel, W.K. (2014). Discounting of money and sex: Effects of commodity and temporal position in stimulant-dependent men and women. Addictive Behaviors, 39(11), 1652-1657.

Johnson, M.W., & Bickel, W.K. (2002). Within-subject comparison of real and hypothetical money rewards in delay discounting. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 77(2), 129-146.

Kahneman, D. (2003). A perspective on judgment and choice: mapping bounded rationality. American Psychologist, 58(9), 697.

Lagorio, C.H., & Madden, G.J. (2005). Delay discounting of real and hypothetical rewards III: steady-state assessments, forced-choice trials, and all real rewards. Behavioural Processes, 69(2), 173-187.

Macrae, W.A., & Davies, H.T.O. (1999). Epidemiology of pain. Core Topics in Pain, 99.

Madden, G.J., Begotka, A.M., Raiff, B.R., & Kastern, L.L. (2003). Delay discounting of real and hypothetical rewards. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 11(2), 139.

Madden, G.J., Raiff, B.R., Lagorio, C.H., Begotka, A.M., Mueller, A.M., Hehli, D.J., & Wegener, A.A. (2004). Delay discounting of potentially real and hypothetical rewards: II. Between-and within-subject comparisons. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 12(4), 251.

Merskey, H., & Bogduk, N. (1994). Classifi cation of chronic pain, IASP Task Force on Taxonomy. Seattle, WA: International Association for the Study of Pain Press.

Mischel, W., Shoda, Y., & Rodriguez, M.L. (1989). Delay of gratifi cation in children. Science, 244(4907), 933-938.

Mitchell, S.H. (1999). Measures of impulsivity in cigarette smokers and non-smokers. Psychopharmacology, 146(4), 455-464.

Myerson, J., Green, L., & Warusawitharana, M. (2001). Area under the curve as a measure of discounting. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 76(2), 235-243.

Ostaszewski, P., & Bialaszek, W. (2010). Probabilistic discounting in ‘certain gain-uncertain loss’ and ‘certain loss-uncertain gain’ conditions. Behavioural Processes, 83(3), 344-348.

Ostaszewski, P., & Karzel, K. (2002). Discounting of delayed and probabilistic losses of different amounts. European Psychologist, 7(4), 295.

Rachlin, H. (1993). The context of pigeon and human choice. Behavior and Philosophy, 1-17.

Rachlin, H., Raineri, A., & Cross, D. (1991). Subjective probability and delay. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 55(2), 233-244.

Redelmeier, D.A., & Kahneman, D. (1996). Patients’ memories of painful medical treatments: Real-time and retrospective evaluations of two minimally invasive procedures. Pain, 66(1), 3-8.

Redelmeier, D.A., Katz, J., & Kahneman, D. (2003). Memories of colonoscopy: a randomized trial. Pain, 104(1), 187-194.

Schrooten, M.G., Wiech, K., & Vlaeyen, J.W. (2014). When pain meets… pain-related choice behavior and pain perception in different goal confl ict situations. The Journal of Pain, 15(11), 1166-1178.

Skinner, B.F. (1974). About behaviorism. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Story, G.W., Vlaev, I., Seymour, B., Winston, J.S., Darzi, A., & Dolan, R.J. (2013). Dread and the disvalue of future pain. PLoS Comput Biol, 9(11), e1003335.

Sugiwaka, H., & Okouchi, H. (2004). Reformative self-control and discounting of reward value by delay or effort. Japanese Psychological Research, 46(1), 1-9.

Weatherly, J.N. (2011). Discounting by problem and non-problem gamblers when the hypothetical context is manipulated. Analysis of Gambling Behavior, 5(1), 19-27.

Weatherly, J.N., & Derenne, A. (2013). Probability and delay discounting of gains and losses using the multiple-choice method. The Psychological Record, 63(3), 563-582.

Polish Psychological Bulletin

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

Journal Information

CiteScore 2016: 0.33

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


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 358 320 26
PDF Downloads 147 140 20