The Psychological Record

, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 513–524 | Cite as

Using Smartphones While Walking is Associated with Delay but Not Social Discounting

  • Takeharu IgakiEmail author
  • Paul Romanowich
  • Naoki Yamagishi
Original Article


This study examined associations between two types of discounting (delay and social) and the frequency of using a smartphone while walking (USWW). Two-hundred thirty-nine college students self-reported USWW behaviors. We compared two groups based on their self-reported frequency of USWW per day; those who engaged in USWW either infrequently (USWW-Low), or frequently (USWW-High). Participants from both groups completed paper-and-pencil-based delay and social discounting tasks. For both types of discounting, hyperbolic functions provided a good fit of crossover points for both participant groups. USWW-High participants discounted delayed rewards more steeply than USWW-Low participants, whereas there was no significant difference for social discounting between groups. The findings that USWW is positively associated with delay discounting but not social discounting indicate that one aspect of impulsivity, but not selfishness, is associated with USWW. Furthermore, correlational analyses between delay and social discounting showed that there was no association between the two discounting tasks, suggesting that delay and social discounting operate independently. Given the association between USWW and delay discounting, strategies to prevent distracted behavior using delay discounting as a factor are discussed.


Delay discounting Social discounting Impulsivity Selfishness Using smartphone while walking 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

All participants were informed of their rights as human participants in a psychology experiment.

Institutional Review Board acceptance at the Ryutsu Keizai University was obtained before data collection.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest. No funding was used for data collection or analysis.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Distribution and Logistics SystemsRyutsu Keizai UniversityMatsudo-shiJapan
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyGonzaga UniversitySpokane,USA
  3. 3.Department of SociologyRyutsu Keizai UniversityMatsudo-shiJapan

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