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Analysis of the temporal discounting function of university students

Financing entity: PAIE (Programa de Apoyo a la Investigación Estudiantil) from CSIC

Research center: CIBPSi, Faculty of Psychology

Research team: Mónica Pérez, Pilar Torena y Rocío Varela

Advisor: Dr. Alejandro Vásquez

The temporary discount is the degree to which people prefer immediate smaller rewards, rather than greater future rewards. The aim of this study was to validate an instrument capable of measuring the temporary reduction of the Uruguayan population of tertiary students and predict the choice of careers of different duration by adapting a temporary discount task (Kirby, 1997) as well as finding the relationship with other psychological constructs.  The study included the development of a web platform for the collection of socio-demographic information, as well as information regarding drug use, the execution of a temporary discount task, the scale of the Considerations of Future Consequences (CFC) and the Inventory of Personality of the Big Five (BFI ). 

139 students (93 women) volunteers from different university careers and tertiary technicians of short duration (1 to 3 years), medium (4 to 5 years) and long (more than 5 years) participated. The results indicated that students who attend medium or long-term careers presented a lower temporary discount than students who study short-term careers. The analyses indicated that students with high scores in the CFC-Future subscale correlate negatively with the temporary discount, and, in turn, indicated a statistically significant and inverse correlation with personality traits, kindness, openness to experience and responsibility.

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