2017: Yaeeun (Joy) Lee

Idaho State University 

Yaeeun (Joy) Lee received her master of science in psychology under Dr. John E. Kurtz at Villanova University. She is currently studying under the supervision of Dr. Erin Rasmussen in the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Idaho State University. Joy’s dissertation involves using the delay discounting measure to investigate developmental differences in food discounting among obese and healthy-weight adolescents and adults. Research on delay discounting shows that preferences for immediate monetary outcomes decline with age (e.g., Green, Fry, & Myerson, 1994; Green, Myerson, Litchtman, Rosen, & Fry, 1996; Steinberg et al., 2009), but to date there are no studies that show these developmental changes with other outcomes. Joy will examine the extent to which age predicts delay discounting for hypothetical food and whether obesity status interacts with age-related food discounting, as obesity status predicts stronger preferences for immediate outcomes (Hendrickson & Rasmussen, 2013; Rasmussen et al., 2010). She will recruit 250 participants from five development categories—from pre-pubescent children to older adults—with equal representation of obese and healthy-weight individuals in each group. This study will focus particularly on the potential differences in food choices that accompany the process of puberty. Joy will use the Tanner Stages scale to determine each participant’s pubertal stage. Pubertal stage may be superior to age in predicting when eating patterns tend to shift toward more stable adult-like patterns. The participants will also complete delay discounting tasks for hypothetical food and money (as a replication of age-related effects in discounting). Upon completing the proposed research, Joy expects to have determined the extent to which impulsive food choice changes across age, especially puberty, and to have characterized the extent to which obesity plays a role in age-related food discounting. She expects these results to have a positive impact on the advancement of behavioral processes related to obesity and development, thereby improving public health.


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