Gender Differences In Impulsivity With Candy And Alcohol: A Fuzzy Trace Theory Approach To Social Meaning In Risky Health Behaviors
Predictions of fuzzy-trace theory regarding impulsivity and reward sensitivity are investigated using temporal discounting tasks in health domains. Items in the task, alcohol and candy, are hypothesized to have meaningful connections to gender norms and identity. A sample of 1535 college undergraduates (68% female, mean age 19.92) participated in a pilot study and two experiments. In regressions to predict risk-taking, gist-based temporal discounting of gender-linked products interacted with gender to explain variance beyond that which is explained by sensation seeking, unlike traditional discount rates. This result is contrary to the predictions of a social norms hypothesis, that each gender would want more of the gender-linked product; they wanted more but chose less. Thus, participants were more impulsive with gender-linked products, suggesting that items that were meaningfully related to identity were more motivating, and thus reveal one's impulsivity in temporal discounting questions better than a stimulus that has no meaning.
health; gender; temporal discounting
Dunning, David Alan; Brainerd, Charles
M.A. of Developmental Psychology
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis