Hyperactivity and Delay Aversion—I. The Effect of Delay on Choice


Request for reprints to: Edmund Sonuga-Barke. Department of Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, U.K.


Abstract Two experiments arc reported in which hyperactive and control children repeatedly chose between small immediate and large delayed it-wards. In experiment 1, the best choice option was manipulated by varying levels of delay after reward delivery. In experiment 2 it was manipulated by changing the economic constraint (10 minutes or 20 trials). Both groups were equally efficient at earning points under most conditions, but hyperactive children exhibited a maladaptive preference for the small reward under the trials constraint. The results suggest that hyperactive children were more concerned to reduce overall delay levels than either to maximize reward amount or immediacy.