A Test of Choice Bundling when Reward Receipt is Contingent upon the Completion of an Aversive Behavior

Restricted (Penn State Only)
Ashe, Melinda Leigh
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
February 02, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Stephen Wilson, Thesis Advisor
  • Joshua Morrison Smyth, Committee Member
  • James Marshall Lebreton, Committee Member
  • Choice bundling; economics; addiction; impulsivity
Choice bundling is a behavioral economic construct which stipulates that aggregating a series of individual, identical decisions into a single choice can reduce impulsive behavior. Limited human studies on choice bundling have found that bundling choices can lead to less impulsive decision-making. No prior work has examined how choice bundling impacts behavior when the receipt of a reward comes with costs. The present study employed a 2-by-2 cross-sectional design to determine if choice bundling would lead to reduced impulsivity even when reward receipt was contingent upon the completion of an unpleasant task (holding one’s breath for as long as possible). 120 participants completed the present study. Logistic regression analyses revealed that choice bundling made participants approximately five times more likely to engage in impulsive choice.