Using a temporal discounting paradigm to measure decision-making and impulsivity following traumatic brain injury: a pilot study

Brain Inj. 2008 Aug;22(9):715-21. doi: 10.1080/02699050802263027.


Primary objective: This study reports on a pilot study using a temporal discounting paradigm and a standardized impulsivity questionnaire to examine decision-making in a group of brain injured patients and age matched controls.

Methods and procedures: Participants were asked to choose between a larger reward available at a specified time in the future and smaller reward available immediately.

Outcome and results: Each of the two groups demonstrated temporal discounting; that is, the subjective value of the reward decreased with increasing delay. However, the TBI group discounted more than the controls, suggesting that their decision-making was more impulsive.

Conclusion: The results suggest that a temporal discounting paradigm might be a useful method of assessing decision-making after head trauma, especially in cases where capacity to make decisions about financial awards is an issue or in respect of money management generally.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / psychology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Impulsive Behavior / diagnosis
  • Impulsive Behavior / psychology*
  • Judgment
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motivation
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pilot Projects
  • Research Design
  • Reward*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult