This research was supported by National Science Foundation Research Grant GB20802. The authors are grateful to Robert Liebert for his help and criticism.
COMMITMENT, CHOICE AND SELF-CONTROL1
Article first published online: 26 FEB 2013
1972 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Volume 17, Issue 1, pages 15–22, January 1972
How to Cite
Rachlin, H. and Green, L. (1972), COMMITMENT, CHOICE AND SELF-CONTROL. Jrnl Exper Analysis Behavior, 17: 15–22. doi: 10.1901/jeab.1972.17-15
- Issue published online: 26 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 26 FEB 2013
- Received: 6 April 1971. (final Acceptance: 25 August 1971.)
When offered a choice (Choice Y) between a small immediate reward (2-sec exposure to grain) and a large reward (4-sec exposure to grain) delayed by 4 sec, pigeons invariably preferred the small, immediate reward. However, when offered a choice (Choice X) between a delay of T seconds followed by Choice Y and a delay of T seconds followed by restriction to the large delayed reward only, the pigeon's choice depended on T. When T was small, the pigeons chose the alternative leading to Choice Y (and then chose the small, immediate reward). When T was large, the pigeons chose the alternative leading to the large delayed reward only. The reversal of preference as T increases is predicted by several recent models for choice between various amounts and delays of reward. The preference for the large delayed alternative with long durations of T parallels everyday instances of advance commitment to a given course of action. Such commitment may be seen as a prototype for self-control.