Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Lee Baugh

Second Advisor

Dr. Kelene Fercho

Third Advisor

Dr. Taylor Bosch


intertemporal choice, fMRI, time perception, reward magnitude

Subject Categories

Medical Neurobiology


In our day to day lives, the ability to make goal-oriented decisions plays a crucial role in both our work and social lives. Therefore, researchers have examined how factors such as a varying reward or delay may affect decision making. One’s performance when making intertemporal choices, decisions made between a smaller and sooner (SS) reward and a larger and later (LL) reward, are often examined to study these factors. Although time and reward magnitude are important dimensions when individuals make decisions during delay discounting, little is known about the relationship between time perception, reward magnitude, and underlying neural mechanisms. To address this gap in literature, participants completed a modified delay discounting task during fMRI with stimuli that included fluctuating reward and delay values. An exploratory factor analysis using behavioral data identified three categories of delays and reward values that were used to create brain contrasts. In these comparisons, the middle frontal gyrus and cingulate gyrus seemed to be more involved when choosing rewards of greater magnitude while the medial frontal gyrus and insula were found to be more active for longer delays. Our results suggest that delay and reward determination are handled by separate neural networks.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.