Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Behavioral Analysis

First Advisor

A. Celeste Harvey

Second Advisor

Adam Brewer

Third Advisor

Joo Young Park

Fourth Advisor

Chris Podlesnik


Delay discounting is the decrease in the value of a reinforcer as a function of the delay to the delivery of the reinforcer. Individuals who exhibit steep delay discounting are commonly referred to as ‘impulsive’ and are at a greater risk of behavior problems such as poor academic performance, addiction, and excessive risk-taking. One effective intervention is a concurrent activity, in which the individual must complete a task demand during the waiting period. Rules and rulegoverned behavior also play a critical role in improving delay discounting rates across populations, and may be used as an intervention to promote self-controlled responses. The present study consists of a component analysis comparing rules and concurrent activities both individually and as a package intervention in a multiple baseline across participants design. In addition, participants completed an assessment battery to determine the extent of their impulsivity and how accurately the assessments predicted treatment outcomes. The results showed that concurrent activities were both effective and preferred for three of the five treatment participants, and partially effective for a fourth. Rules may enhance this efficacy further.


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