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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 19, 2015

I Can’t Wait: Methods for Measuring and Moderating Individual Differences in Impulsive Choice

Jennifer R. Peterson, Catherine C. Hill, Andrew T. Marshall, Sarah L. Stuebing and Kimberly Kirkpatrick

Abstract

Impulsive choice behavior occurs when individuals make choices without regard for future consequences. This behavior is often maladaptive and is a common symptom in many disorders, including drug abuse, compulsive gambling, and obesity. Several proposed mechanisms may influence impulsive choice behavior. These mechanisms provide a variety of pathways that may provide the basis for individual differences that are often evident when measuring choice behavior. This review provides an overview of these different pathways to impulsive choice, and the behavioral intervention strategies being developed to moderate impulsive choice. Because of the compelling link between impulsive choice behavior and the near-epidemic pervasiveness of obesity in the United States, we focus on the relationship between impulsive choice behavior and obesity as a test case for application of the multiple pathways approach. Choosing immediate gratification over healthier long term food choices is a contributing factor to the obesity crisis. Behavioral interventions can lead to more self-controlled choices in a rat pre-clinical model, suggesting a possible gateway for translation to human populations. Designing and implementing effective impulsive choice interventions is crucial to improving the overall health and well-being of impulsive individuals.

Funding statement: Funding: National Institute of Mental Health (Grant/Award Number: ‘MH-085739’).

Acknowledgments

The empirical research that formed the basis for much of this review was support by NIMH grant R01-085739 awarded to Kimberly Kirkpatrick and Kansas State University. Jen Peterson and Catherine Hill served as lead authors and they combined in producing the majority of the writing and idea generation for the project. Andrew Marshall and Sarah Stuebing were secondary contributors to writing and idea generation. Kimberly Kirkpatrick provided the general theoretical framework for the paper and supplied guidance and feedback throughout the process.

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Published Online: 2015-11-19
Published in Print: 2015-1-1

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