Delay discounting and probability discounting as related to cigarette smoking status in adults

Brady Reynolds, Jerry B. Richards, Kimberly Horn, Katherine Karraker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

331 Scopus citations


This study examined relations between adult smokers and non-smokers and the devaluation of monetary rewards as a function of delay (delay discounting, DD) or probability (probability discounting, PD). The extent to which individuals discount value, either as a function of a reward being delayed or probabilistic, has been taken to reflect individual differences in impulsivity. Those who discount most are considered most impulsive. Previous research has shown that adult smokers discount the value of delayed rewards more than adult non-smokers. However, in the one published study that examined probability discounting in adult smokers and non-smokers, the smokers did not discount the value of probabilistic rewards more than the non-smoker controls. From this past research, it was hypothesized that measures of delay discounting would differentiate between smokers and non-smokers but that probability discounting would not. Participants were 54 (25 female) adult smokers (n=25) and non-smokers (n=29). The smokers all reported smoking at least 20 cigarettes per day, and the non-smokers reported having never smoked. The results indicated that the smokers discounted significantly more than the non-smokers by both delay and probability. Unlike past findings, these results suggest that both delay and probability discounting are related to adult cigarette smoking; however, it also was determined that DD was a significantly stronger predictor of smoking than PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-42
Number of pages8
JournalBehavioural Processes
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 30 2004


  • Choice
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Delay discounting
  • Human
  • Impulsivity
  • Probability discounting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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