A better praise or a bigger raise? Exploring the contrast between delay discounting of real monetary and social rewards.

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Delay discounting refers to an individual’s subjective value decreasing with an increase in the delay of receiving that reward. People, when asked to make such choices in which they must choose either the immediate or the delayed reward, have been shown to exhibit behavior that has been linked to impulsivity and patience. Such choices that are delayed across time are known as intertemporal choices. What was first experimented using marshmallows has now been widely studied using the classic reward of money, and though there have been many a nontraditional task that have utilized alternate rewards, they have often relied on hypothetical choices. This research therefore employed a real positive social reward to investigate how participants discount receiving social rewards via the social networking platform of Instagram, where it is typical to delay sharing content in order to maximize outreach and admiration. Furthermore, in order to compare discounting for social rewards with money, they were asked to provide monetary equivalents for how much they value receiving social rewards. Against a fixed immediate reward, participants were then confronted with choices that included four different reward magnitudes across four different delays. Mixed effects modeling was thereby used to analyze the data which showed significance of magnitude and delay, but not for the different conditions, nor for any interactions. A secondary analysis was performed to calculate hyperbolic discount rates, which too did not show significance for the reward type contrast. Potential explanations of these results including how compelling the choice was, participants’ perception of social reward, advantages and constraints of using Instagram in researching delay discounting, as well as motivational confounds are discussed. Keywords: Monetary Reward, Social Reward, Instagram, Hyperbolic Delay Discounting, Mixed Effects Modeling
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen