Are Juvenile Offenders Extreme Future Discounters?
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It has been the prevailing view that young offenders are more present oriented than their peers, but this view has little empirical basis other than the actions that have defined these youth as offenders. In the present study, we used a decision task with actual monetary consequences to assess the tendency of young offenders and a control group of high school students to discount the future. The young offenders were not significantly different from the students in discounting the future, even though the young offenders scored significantly higher on a sensation-seeking personality scale, were less likely to have lived with their fathers, and had changed schools more often. Young offenders and control participants were also similar in the extent to which they manifested a clear vision of the future by anticipating which future milestones would occur sooner, in a task pairing milestones with each other and with year markers.
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