Time costs in the demand of cigarettes
Drug addiction can be conceptualized as a reinforcer pathology, characterized by an overvaluation of drug reinforcers compared to non-drug reinforcers, and a propensity to prefer smaller, immediate rewards (delay discounting). The value of a reinforcer can be characterized using demand functions, which describes the consumption of a reinforcer as a function of its cost. In humans, cost is typically operationalized in terms of monetary value. However, time is also an important cost that determines the consumption of a reinforcer. Yet, there is a lack of attention in characterizing the demand for a reinforcer using time as a cost. If time acts as a cost, more dependent smokers would be more willing to wait for a cigarette than a less dependent individual. This contradicts predictions based on delay discounting research, which leads to the hypothesis that more dependent individuals would be less willing to wait due to steeper discounting rates. In a series of four studies, the present dissertation describes the preliminary development of the Cigarette Purchase Task-Time (CPT-T), a measure of cigarette demand with time as a cost, and investigates whether more dependent smokers are more, or less willing, to wait for a cigarette. Implications and limitations of the results are discussed.