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No effects of psychosocial stress on intertemporal choice


Haushofer, Johannes; Cornelisse, Sandra; Seinstra, Maayke; Fehr, Ernst; Joëls, Marian; Kalenscher, Tobias (2013). No effects of psychosocial stress on intertemporal choice. PLoS ONE, 8(11):e78597.

Abstract

Intertemporal choices - involving decisions which trade off instant and delayed outcomes - are often made under stress. It remains unknown, however, whether and how stress affects intertemporal choice. We subjected 142 healthy male subjects to a laboratory stress or control protocol, and asked them to make a series of intertemporal choices either directly after stress, or 20 minutes later (resulting in four experimental groups). Based on theory and evidence from behavioral economics and cellular neuroscience, we predicted a bidirectional effect of stress on intertemporal choice, with increases in impatience or present bias immediately after stress, but decreases in present bias or impatience when subjects are tested 20 minutes later. However, our results show no effects of stress on intertemporal choice at either time point, and individual differences in stress reactivity (changes in stress hormone levels over time) are not related to individual differences in intertemporal choice. Together, we did not find support for the hypothesis that psychosocial laboratory stressors affect intertemporal choice.

Abstract

Intertemporal choices - involving decisions which trade off instant and delayed outcomes - are often made under stress. It remains unknown, however, whether and how stress affects intertemporal choice. We subjected 142 healthy male subjects to a laboratory stress or control protocol, and asked them to make a series of intertemporal choices either directly after stress, or 20 minutes later (resulting in four experimental groups). Based on theory and evidence from behavioral economics and cellular neuroscience, we predicted a bidirectional effect of stress on intertemporal choice, with increases in impatience or present bias immediately after stress, but decreases in present bias or impatience when subjects are tested 20 minutes later. However, our results show no effects of stress on intertemporal choice at either time point, and individual differences in stress reactivity (changes in stress hormone levels over time) are not related to individual differences in intertemporal choice. Together, we did not find support for the hypothesis that psychosocial laboratory stressors affect intertemporal choice.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:25 Nov 2013 07:59
Last Modified:21 Jul 2016 07:13
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1932-6203
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0078597
PubMed ID:24250800
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:8526

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