Temporal framing and the hidden-zero effect: rate-dependent outcomes on delay discounting

Gideon P. Naudé, Brent A. Kaplan, Derek D. Reed, Amy J. Henley, Florence D. DiGennaro Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Recent research suggests that presenting time intervals as units (e.g., days) or as specific dates, can modulate the degree to which humans discount delayed outcomes. Another framing effect involves explicitly stating that choosing a smaller–sooner reward is mutually exclusive to receiving a larger–later reward, thus presenting choices as an extended sequence. In Experiment 1, participants (N = 201) recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk completed the Monetary Choice Questionnaire in a 2 (delay framing) by 2 (zero framing) design. Regression suggested a main effect of delay, but not zero, framing after accounting for other demographic variables and manipulations. We observed a rate-dependent effect for the date-framing group, such that those with initially steep discounting exhibited greater sensitivity to the manipulation than those with initially shallow discounting. Subsequent analyses suggest these effects cannot be explained by regression to the mean. Experiment 2 addressed the possibility that the null effect of zero framing was due to within-subject exposure to the hidden- and explicit-zero conditions. A new Amazon Mechanical Turk sample completed the Monetary Choice Questionnaire in either hidden- or explicit-zero formats. Analyses revealed a main effect of reward magnitude, but not zero framing, suggesting potential limitations to the generality of the hidden-zero effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506-519
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior


  • computer mouse click
  • delay discounting
  • framing
  • humans
  • temporal attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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