(Non-) Impact of Task Experience on Behavioral Economic Decision-Making

Justin C. Strickland, B. Levi Bolin, Katherine R. Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Behavioral economic research has been widely conducted via crowdsourcing resources to evaluate novel task designs or pilot interventions. One under recognized and yet-to-be tested concern is the impact of non-naïvety (i.e., prior task exposure) on behavioral economic task performance. We evaluated the influence of non-naïvety on task performance in two popular areas of behavioral economic research: behavioral economic demand and delay discounting. Participants (N = 485) recruited using Amazon Mechanical Turk (mTurk) completed alcohol and soda purchase tasks and delay discounting tasks for monetary and alcohol outcomes. Equivalence of responding and effect sizes with clinical variables were compared based on prior task experience. Over one quarter of participants reported demand task experience (26.9%) and nearly half endorsed delay discounting task experience (48.6%). Statistically equivalent responding was observed for alcohol purchase task data with less-than-small effect size differences based on task experience (d = 0.01–0.13). Similar results were observed for a soda purchase task thereby supporting generalization to a non-alcohol commodity. Measures of convergent and discriminant validity for behavioral economic demand indicated medium-to-large and stimulus-specific effect sizes with little variation based on prior task exposure. Delay discounting for money and alcohol showed some sensitivity to prior task experience (i.e., less steep discounting for non-naïve participants), however these effects were attenuated after accounting for group differences in alcohol use. These findings support the fidelity of behavioral economic task outcomes and emphasize that participant nonnaïvety in crowdsourcing settings may minimally impact performance on behavioral economic assays commonly used in behavioral and addiction science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)338-350
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 22 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This manuscript was supported by Pilot Research Funds from the University of Kentucky Department of Behavioral Science and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (T32 DA07209). These funding sources had no role in the preparation and submission of the manuscript. Analyses reported here have not been presented previously. The authors thank Derek Reed for insightful comments on analyses presented in this work. The authors have no financial conflicts of interest in regard to this research.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. American Psychological Association


  • Crowdsourcing
  • Demand
  • Methodology
  • Naïve
  • Purchase task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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