Intertemporal Choice

J. R. Stevens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

19 Scopus citations


Intertemporal choices involve decisions between outcomes that are available at different times in the future. Organisms face these types of choices quite frequently, from natural history trade-offs to foraging decisions, mate choice, parental investment, and cooperative dilemmas. The ever-present nature of intertemporal choices makes them interesting to a broad range of disciplines. The economic perspective generates models of optimal temporal trade-offs. The psychological perspective explores the cognitive mechanisms used in intertemporal choice. The evolutionary perspective investigates the adaptive value of trading off present and future benefits. Together, these approaches can provide a more complete understanding of the balance between patience and impulsivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Animal Behavior
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9780080453378
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Choice
  • Decision
  • Delayed gratification
  • Future
  • Impulsivity
  • Interruptions
  • Patience
  • Rate maximizing
  • Reward
  • Risk
  • Self-control
  • Temporal discounting
  • Time
  • Uncertainty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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