Patience, Cognitive Abilities, and Cognitive Effort: Survey and Experimental Evidence From a Developing Country

Stefania Bortolotti, Thomas Dohmen*, Hartmut Lehmann, Frauke Meyer, Norberto Pignatti, Karine Torosyan

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study sheds light on the relationship between cognition and patience by documenting that the correlation between cognitive abilities and delay discounting is weaker for the same group of individuals if choices are incentivized. This study conjectures that higher cognitive effort, which induces higher involvement of the cognitive system, moderates the relationship between patience and cognition. For 107 participants drawn from the adult population in Tbilisi, this study examines the relationship between various measures of cognitive ability and that of patience. Specifically, we consider the relationship between the Cognitive Reflection Test, a numeracy test, self-reported math ability measure, enumerators' assessments, and incentivized and hypothetical trade-offs between smaller-sooner and larger-later payments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0002764221996744
Pages (from-to)1512-1530
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number11
Early online date17 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • behavioral economics
  • cognition
  • patience
  • experimental evidence
  • developing country

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