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Future Discounting by Slum-Dwelling Youth Versus University Students in Rio de Janeiro


  • The first two authors have scholarships from the Brazilian Ministry of Education (CAPES), the third author has grants from the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) and Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho (FAPERJ). The authors would like to thank the participants for their cooperation and the late Professor Margo Wilson for her theoretical contribution and encouragement in the development of the study. We are also grateful to Professors Marcela Raffaelli and Silvia Koller, Associate Editors of this special number and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful contributions to the different versions of this paper.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Maria Lucia Seidl-de-Moura, Graduate School of Social Psychology, State University of Rio de Janeiro, R. S. Francisco Xavier, 524, 20550-900, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. E-mail:


We compared Future Discounting (FD, preference for smaller, sooner rewards over larger, later ones) by 160 Brazilian youth (16–30 years old; 71 women and 89 men). University students and slum-dwelling (favela) youth were compared. Participants completed a monetary FD task, a scale of youngsters′ view of their neighborhood, and self-reported exposure to violence (EV). Favela youth discounted the future more than students; favela men more than women. However, university women discounted more than men, an unexpected result. Predicted differences in the participants′ view of their neighborhood between the two groups were observed. The interaction context × EV scores was a significant predictor of FD. These youth have apparently adjusted trade-offs between the short and long term in a context-sensitive, adaptive manner.