Temporal Horizon: Modulation by Smoking Status and Gender

Publication Title

Drug and Alcohol Dependence

Publication Date


Document Type





Smoking, Women, Delay discounting, Temporal horizon, Risk taking


Applied Behavior Analysis | Experimental Analysis of Behavior | Psychology


Recently, delay discounting has been argued to be conceptually consistent with the notion of temporal horizon [Bickel, W.K., Yi, R., Kowal, B.P., Gatchalian, K.M., 2008. Cigarette smokers discount past and future rewards symmetrically and more than controls: is discounting a measure of impulsivity? Drug Alcohol Depend. 96, 256–262]. Temporal horizon refers to the temporal distance over which behavioral events or objects can influence behavior. Here we examine the results on two putative measures of temporal horizon, future time perspective (FTP) and delay discounting, collected over three separate studies (n=227), to determine the influence of smoking and gender on temporal horizon. By comparing the results on these temporal horizon measures we address our population of interest: women who smoke. One of the measures of FTP indicates that smoking women have a shorter temporal horizon than their nonsmoking counterparts. Additionally, the story completion measures of FTP are positively correlated with delay discounting. In contrast, results of delay discounting measures showed no difference between smoking women and nonsmoking women, while results of delay discounting measures indicated smoking men have a shorter temporal horizon than non-smoking men. Additionally, the results of the FTP story completion measure indicated that lower third income earners had a shortened temporal horizon compared to upper third income earners. A possible explanation for these results is explored, and the implications of the modulation of temporal horizon by gender and smoking are discussed.



Publisher Location

Amsterdam, Netherlands