Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

Vulnerabilities to addiction must have their impact through the common currency of discounted reward   1

George Ainslie

Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Coatesville, PA 19320. [email protected]


The ten vulnerabilities discussed in the target article vary in their likelihood of producing temporary preference for addictive activities – which is the phenomenon that puzzles conventional motivational theory. Direct dopaminergic stimulation, but probably not the other vulnerabilities, may contribute to the necessary concavity of addicts' delay discounting curves, as may factors that the senior author analyzes elsewhere. Whatever their origins, these curves can themselves account for temporary preference, sudden craving, and the “automatic” habits discussed here.