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What Is for Me Is Not for You: Brain Correlates of Intertemporal Choice for Self and Other

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  • Albrecht, Konstanze
  • Volz, Kirsten G.
  • Sutter, Matthias
  • Laibson, David I.
  • Yves von Cramon, D.

Abstract

People have present-biased preferences: they choose more impatiently when choosing between an immediate reward and a delayed reward, than when choosing between a delayed reward and a more delayed reward. Following McClure et al. [McClure, S.M., Laibson, D.I., Loewenstein, G., Cohen, J.D. (2004). Separate neural systems value immediate and delayed monetary rewards. Science, 306, 503.], we find that areas in the dopaminergic reward system show greater activation when a binary choice set includes both an immediate reward and a delayed reward in contrast to activation measured when the binary choice set contains only delayed rewards. The presence of an immediate reward in the choice set elevates activation of the ventral striatum, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex and anterior medial prefrontal cortex. These dopaminergic reward areas are also responsive to the identity of the recipient of the reward. Even an immediate reward does not activate these dopaminergic regions when the decision is being made for another person. Our results support the hypotheses that participants show less affective engagement (i) when they are making choices for themselves that only involve options in the future or (ii) when they are making choices for someone else. As hypothesized, we also find that behavioral choices reflect more patience when choosing for someone else.

Suggested Citation

  • Albrecht, Konstanze & Volz, Kirsten G. & Sutter, Matthias & Laibson, David I. & Yves von Cramon, D., 2011. "What Is for Me Is Not for You: Brain Correlates of Intertemporal Choice for Self and Other," Scholarly Articles 9972760, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:9972760
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Knutson, Brian & Peterson, Richard, 2005. "Neurally reconstructing expected utility," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 305-315, August.
    2. Daniel Kahneman, 2003. "Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 1449-1475.
    3. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 443-478.
    4. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, pages 443-478.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John R. Doyle, 2013. "Survey of time preference, delay discounting models," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, pages 116-135.
    2. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher & Daniela Glätzle-Rützler & Stefan T. Trautmann, 2013. "Impatience and Uncertainty: Experimental Decisions Predict Adolescents' Field Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 510-531.
    3. Anders Karlström, 2014. "Appraisal," Chapters,in: Handbook of Choice Modelling, chapter 24, pages 601-626 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Füllbrunn, Sascha & Luhan, Wolfgang J., 2015. "Am I my Peer's Keeper? Social Responsibility in Financial Decision Making," Ruhr Economic Papers 551, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Carlsson, Fredrik & He, Haoran & Martinsson, Peter & Qin, Ping & Sutter, Matthias, 2012. "Household decision making in rural China: Using experiments to estimate the influences of spouses," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 525-536.
    6. repec:zbw:rwirep:0551 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Sascha Füllbrunn & Wolfgang J. Luhan, 2015. "Am I my Peer‘s Keeper? Social Responsibility in Financial Decision Making," Ruhr Economic Papers 0551, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    8. Martinsson, Peter & Myrseth, Kristian Ove R. & Wollbrant, Conny, 2014. "Social dilemmas: When self-control benefits cooperation," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, pages 213-236.
    9. Peter Martinsson & Kristian Ove R. Myrseth & Conny Wollbrant, 2012. "Reconciling pro-social vs. selfish behavior: On the role of self-control," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, pages 304-315.

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