Dr. Amy Odum

Why do we disregard delayed consequences?

Steep delay discounting is characterized by a preference for small immediate outcomes relative to larger delayed outcomes and is predictive of a variety of maladaptive behaviors like drug abuse and problematic gambling. Why do we disregard the future consequences of our current actions? Research shows that there are strong situational as well as personal contributions to steep delay discounting. We will review the substantial literature indicating that non-monetary outcomes are discounted far more precipitously than money as well as go over theories that may explain this finding. People also tend to discount different outcomes similarly (the contribution of a person to discounting). That is, if a person discounts one outcome steeply, they are also likely to discount other outcomes steeply. We will discuss the implications of the person-level contribution to delay discounting for attempts to change delay discounting.

About Amy Odum

Amy Odum is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Utah State University. Her research interests are in basic behavioral phenomena, such as response persistence, sensitivity to delayed outcomes, conditional discriminations, and environmental influences on drug effects. Her work has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute of Mental Health. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont’s Human Behavioral Pharmacology Laboratory after earning her Ph.D. and M.A. in Psychology, specializing in Behavior Analysis, from West Virginia University. She received a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Florida. Dr. Odum served as Editor in Chief of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. She has been President of the Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and President of Division 25 (Behavior Analysis) of the American Psychological Association. She is a Fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis International.