Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Daniel Burns




self-control, IQ, stress, intelligence, performance


Maintaining self-control can be a draining and arduous task, which may be affected by several external factors, such as stress or IQ level. An experiment was conducted on the effects of induced stress on Delay Discounting (DD) performance, or a measure of self-control, and the extent to which IQ level moderated this effect. Participants recorded their SAT or ACT scores (which were later converted to IQ scores), were exposed to a stress-inducing or control task requiring them to place their arms in ice-cold or luke-warm water, respectively, and then completed a DD task where they made a number of hypothetical decisions asking them to choose between smaller, immediate rewards, or larger, more delayed rewards. Although it was predicted that high IQ individuals, regardless of whether or not they were in the stress or no-stress condition, would be better at delaying gratification than low IQ individuals, this was not found. It was also hypothesized that stress would generally increase delay discounting; however, this relationship was not seen. Finally, the prediction that the negative effects of stress on delay discounting would be minimized for more intelligent individuals was obtained as those in the higher IQ group chose the delayed rewards more often than those in the lower IQ group when they were exposed to stress.