Choice impulsivity: Definitions, measurement issues, and clinical implications

Kristen R. Hamilton, Marci R. Mitchell, Victoria C. Wing, Iris M. Balodis, Warren K. Bickel, Mark Fillmore, Scott D. Lane, C. W. Lejuez, Andrew K. Littlefield, Maartje Luijten, Charles W. Mathias, Suzanne H. Mitchell, T. Celeste Napier, Brady Reynolds, Christian G. Schütz, Barry Setlow, Kenneth J. Sher, Alan C. Swann, Stephanie E. Tedford, Melanie J. WhiteCatharine A. Winstanley, Richard Yi, Marc N. Potenza, F. Gerard Moeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations


Impulsivity critically relates to many psychiatric disorders. Given the multifaceted construct that impulsivity represents, defining core aspects of impulsivity is vital for the assessment and understanding of clinical conditions. Choice impulsivity (CI), involving the preferential selection of smaller sooner rewards over larger later rewards, represents one important type of impulsivity. The International Society for Research on Impulsivity (InSRI) convened to discuss the definition and assessment of CI and provide recommendations regarding measurement across species. Commonly used preclinical and clinical CI behavioral tasks are described, and considerations for each task are provided to guide CI task selection. Differences in assessment of CI (self-report, behavioral) and calculating CI indices (e.g., area-under-the-curve, indifference point, and steepness of discounting curve) are discussed along with properties of specific behavioral tasks used in preclinical and clinical settings. The InSRI group recommends inclusion of measures of CI in human studies examining impulsivity. Animal studies examining impulsivity should also include assessments of CI and these measures should be harmonized in accordance with human studies of the disorders being modeled in the preclinical investigations. The choice of specific CI measures to be included should be based on the goals of the study and existing preclinical and clinical literature using established CI measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-198
Number of pages17
JournalPersonality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015


  • delay discounting
  • delay of gratification
  • impulsivity
  • personality
  • self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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