Introduction: Smoking is known to be associated with steeper delay discounting which is a widely used measure of externalizing behavior. This study investigates individual aspects of time estimation and the extent to which these are associated with differences in delay discounting and smoking behavior. Methods: The study was conducted as an online experiment in a sample of undergraduate students (N = 495), including 51 smokers. Participants completed a serial time estimation, delay discounting task (MCQ), BIS/BAS questionnaire, Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence and an alcohol use assessment (QFV). Results: Smoking, heavy drinking and delay discounting were associated with faster estimation of time. Furthermore, smoking and delay discounting were associated with differences in autocorrelation. Fun seeking was associated with smoking and alcohol use, but not with time estimation or delay discounting. Conclusions: This study provides evidence for the hypothesis that an acceleration of the internal clock might lead to time over-estimation which could lead towards delayed consequence sensitivity and addiction. The study also found further evidence for the hypothesis that distortions in time estimation (i.e., autocorrelation) may be related to delay discounting and smoking. Smoking and delay discounting were associated with faster estimations of time and differences in autocorrelation.
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