2018: Sara Peck

Utah State University

Sara Peck earned her BA in psychology from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, working in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Byrne. She is currently a Ph.D. student at Utah State University, working with Dr. Gregory Madden. Sara studies interventions designed to reduce impulsive choice in rats, and the behavioral mediators of this change. Her other research interests include effort discounting, effects of delay framing on consumer decision making, and translating laboratory successes to address impulsive choice in vulnerable populations.


The SABA grant will support an experiment examining the effects of high-effort training on effort-based impulsive choice in rats. High-effort rats will be given a history of working hard to obtain a reinforcer, while low-effort rats will complete a single response to obtain the same reward (time to food will be yoked across groups). In the impulsive-choice test, rats will choose between a smaller, less-effortful reward and a larger, more-effortful one. Sara’s hypothesis is that rats completing high-effort training will make fewer impulsive choices compared to low-effort rats or a no-training control group. Because low persistence and low effort tendencies are related to maladaptive proclivities in humans, this research has translational potential. Sara would like to thank her current and past mentors, her lab mates, and those generous individuals who contribute financially to SABA.


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