Temporal discounting is the tendency to discount future rewards compared to those that are offered in the present.
Temporal discounting is the tendency for people to devalue rewards that are offered in the future, compared to those that are offered in the present. In other words, we tend to prefer rewards that we can enjoy now over rewards that we may receive in the future.
Temporal discounting affects our thinking and decision-making in a number of ways, and can have a significant impact on our lives. There are a number of factors that can influence how much we discount future rewards.
One important factor is the amount of time that we anticipate needing to wait for the reward. The longer we think we will have to wait, the more we will discount the value of that reward.
Another important factor is our perception of risk. If we believe there is a risk that we may not receive the future reward, we will be more likely to discount it.
Finally, our level of patience also plays a role in how much we discount future rewards. People who are less patient tend to discount future rewards more than those who are more patient.
The tendency to discount future rewards can have a number of negative consequences. For example, it can lead us to make impulsive decisions that we later regret.
It can also cause us to procrastinate, as we put off activities that would provide future rewards in favor of activities that provide immediate gratification.
Additionally, temporal discounting can lead us to undervalue long-term goals and objectives, opting instead for short-term gains.
While temporal discounting can have some negative effects, it is important to remember that it is a natural tendency that we all experience. By understanding how temporal discounting works, we can be better equipped to make decisions that are in our best interest, both in the short and long term.
One way to avoid the negative consequences of temporal discounting is to make sure that we consider all of the potential rewards before making a decision. When we take the time to think about the future rewards that are available, we are less likely to discount them.
Additionally, we can try to increase our patience by setting realistic goals and timelines for ourselves. By doing this, we can train our brains to be more patient and less likely to discount future rewards.
While temporal discounting is a natural tendency, it can have some negative consequences if we’re not careful. By understanding how it works, we can be better equipped to make decisions that are in our best interest.