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Two Choice Impulsivity Paradigm

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The Two Choice Impulsivity Paradigm (TCIP) is a delay discounting task. In the TCIP, participants choose between larger rewards accompanied by longer delays and smaller rewards accompanied by shorter delays. In the TCIP, participants experience the rewards and delays in real-time. The TCIP is designed to measure the consequence sensitivity aspect of impulsivity.

Participants are given choices between a smaller-sooner and a larger-later reinforcer. Consequence insensitivity is reflected by choices for the smaller-sooner reinforcer because these choices produce consequences that are less than optimal (obtaining less than the maximum amount of reinforcement available). This is the most commonly used type of consequence sensitivity paradigm in both human and nonhuman studies, measuring an underlying mechanism important to the understanding of psychiatric disorders that feature impulse-control dysfunction.

In TCIP, participants experience discrete trials in which they select one of two shapes (circles and squares). These shapes appear on the computer monitor and responses to these shapes produce their respective consequence: clicking on a circle earns 5 points after waiting 5 seconds and clicking on a square earns 15 points after waiting 15 seconds. During the testing session, the circle and the square appear on the monitor together and participants make choices between the two rewards by clicking on either the circle or the square to add points to their counter. The left/right orientation of the shapes is randomly determined for each trial. After choosing one shape, the other shape disappears and the chosen shape fades to gray. When the scheduled delay elapses, he chosen shape resumes its black color, flashing for 500 msec once per second, at which time the participant clicks on the shape a second time to add its respective reward to the counter.

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