Award Date

May 2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Committee Member

Stephen D. Benning

Second Committee Member

Andrew Freeman

Third Committee Member

Mark Ashcraft

Fourth Committee Member

Carren Bellomo Warren

Number of Pages

57

Abstract

A key assumption in many studies examining valuation of reward is that participants’ preferences for various rewards are meaningfully, monotonically ordered with respect to other possible rewards. However, this assumption has not been systematically tested. Two studies consisting of 74 undergraduates from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and 122 community members demonstrated nonmonotonic reward preferences when provided with parametrically varied reward magnitudes. Although deficits in reward processing are believed to be a key feature of depression, depressed participants were more willing to work hard for rewards and exhibited more monotonic reward preferences than non-depressed participants. Relative to imaginary rewards, participants were more willing to work for real money and spent more time making decisions when there was a possibility of earning real money.

Keywords

Imaginary Rewards; Nonmonotonicity; Reward Preferences; Valuation

Disciplines

Psychology

Language

English


Included in

Psychology Commons

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