The Psychological Record

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 189–204 | Cite as

Self-Control and Impulsiveness in Preschool Children

Article
  • 1 Downloads

Abstract

Eleven girls and nine boys, aged 41–59 months, chose repeatedly, under controlled laboratory conditions, between one sticker available immediately and three stickers available after 30 s. On the average, the children chose the immediate one sticker more often than the three delayed stickers (i.e., they more often demonstrated impulsiveness than self-control). The boys showed significantly more impulsiveness than did the girls. These data are consistent with other data collected using related procedures and preschool children, but they are in contrast to those collected using procedures very similar to those used here but with adult humans, who tend to show self-control. This research establishes a methodology and points to future directions for quantitative examination of the determinants of self-control in preschool-aged subjects.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. AINSLIE, G. W. (1974). Impulse control in pigeons. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 21, 485–489.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. AINSLIE, G. W. (1975). Specious reward: A behavioral theory of impulsiveness and impulse control. Psychological Bulletin, 82, 463–496.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION. (1987). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.-Rev.). Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  4. BAUM, W. M., & RACHLIN, H. (1969). Choice as time allocation. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 12, 861–874.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. BENTALL, R. P., & LOWE, C. F. (1982). Developmental aspects of human operant behaviour: The role of instructions and self-instructions. Behaviour Analysis Letters, 2, 186.Google Scholar
  6. BENTALL, R. P., & LOWE, C. F. (1987). The role of verbal behavior in human learning: III. Instructional effects in children. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 47, 177–190.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. BENTALL, R. P., LOWE, C. F., & BEASTY, A. (1985). The role of verbal behavior in human learning: II. Developmental differences. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 43, 165–181.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. CAMPBELL, S. B., SZUMOWSKI, E. K., EWING, L. J., GLUCK, D. S., & BREAUX, A. M. (1982). A multidimensional assessment of parent-identified behavior problem toddlers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 10, 569–592.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. COHEN, J., & COHEN, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral Sciences (2nd ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  10. CROOKS, R. C. (1977). Magnitude of reward and preference in a delayed-reward situation. Psychological Reports, 40, 1215–1219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. EISENBERGER, R., & ADORNETTO, M. (1986). Generalized self-control of delay and effort. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1020–1031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. FUNDER, D. C., BLOCK, J. H., & BLOCK, J. (1983). Delay of gratification: Some longitudinal personality correlates. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 1198–1213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. GROSCH, J., & NEURINGER, A. (1981). Self-control in pigeons under the Mischel paradigm. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 35, 3–21.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  14. HARZEM, R., LOWE, C. F., & BAGSHAW, M. (1978). Verbal control in human operant behavior. The Psychological Record, 28, 405–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. HERRNSTEIN, R. J. (1970). On the law of effect. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 13, 243–266.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  16. HINSON, J. M., & LOCKHEAD, G. R. (1987). Momentary and global maximizing. Behavioural Processes, 14, 21–34.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. HYDE, J. S., & LINN, M. C. (1988). Gender differences in verbal ability: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 104, 53–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. INOUYE, A., & SATO, S., & SATO, Y. (1979). Developmental study in delayed preference behavior. The Japanese Journal of Psychology, 50, 82–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. JACKLIN, C. N. (1989). Female and male: Issues of gender. American Psychologist, 44, 127–133.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. KANFER, F. H., & ZICH, J. (1974). Self-control training: The effects of external control on children’s resistance to temptation. Developmental Psychology, 10, 108–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. KING, G. R., & LOGUE, A. W. (1987). Choice in a self-control paradigm with human subjects: Effects of changeover delay duration. Learning and Motivation, 18, 421–438.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. KING, G. R., & LOGUE, A. W. (1990). Humans’ sensitivity to variation in reinforcer amount: Effects of the method of reinforcer delivery. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 53, 33–45.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  23. LEA, S. E. G. (1979). Foraging and reinforcement schedules in the pigeon: Optimal and non-optimal aspects of choice. Animal Behaviour, 27, 875–886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. LITROWNIK, A. J., FRANZINI, L. R., GELLER, S., & GELLER, M. (1977). Delay of gratification: Decisional self-control and experience with delay intervals. American Journal of Mental Disorders, 82, 149–154.Google Scholar
  25. LOGUE, A. W. (1988). Research on self-control: An integrating framework. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 11, 665–679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. LOGUE, A. W., CHAVARRO, A., RACHLIN, H., & REEDER, R. W. (1988). Impulsiveness in pigeons living in the experimental chamber. Animal Learning & Behavior, 16, 31–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. LOGUE, A. W., KING, G. R., CHAVARRO, A., & VOLPE, J. S. (1990). Matching and maximizing in a self-control paradigm using human subjects. Learning and Motivation, 21, 340–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. LOGUE, A. W., & PENA-CORREAL, T. E. (1985). The effect of food deprivation on self-control. Behavioural Processes, 10, 355–368.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. LOGUE, A. W., PENA-CORREAL, T. E., RODRIGUEZ, M. L., & KABELA, E. (1986). Self-control in adult humans: Variation in positive reinforcer amount and delay. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 46, 159–173.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  30. LOGUE, A. W., RODRIGUEZ, M. L., PENA-CORREAL, T. E., & MAURO, B. C. (1984). Choice in a self-control paradigm: Quantification of experience-based differences. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 41, 53–67.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  31. LOGUE, A. W., SMITH, M. E., & RACHLIN, H. (1985). Sensitivity of pigeons to prereinforcer and postreinforcer delay. Animal Learning & Behavior, 13, 181–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. LOW, B. S. (1989). Cross-cultural patterns in the training of children: An evolutionary perspective. Journal of Comparative Psychology, 103, 311–319.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. LOWE, C. F. (1979). Determinants of human operant behaviour. In M. D. Zeiler & P. Harzem (Eds.), Reinforcement and the organization of behaviour (pp. 159–192). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  34. LOWE, C. F. (1983). Radical behaviorism and human psychology. In G. C. L. Davey (Ed.), Animal models of human behavior (pp. 71–93). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  35. MACCOBY, E. E., & JACKLIN, C. N. (1974). The psychology of sex differences. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  36. MATTHEWS, B. A., SHIMOFF, E., CATANIA, A. C., & SAGVOLDEN, T. (1977). Uninstructed human responding: Sensitivity to ratio and interval contingencies. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 27, 453–467.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  37. MAWHINNEY, T. C. (1982). Maximizing versus matching in people versus pigeons. Psychological Reports, 50, 267–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. MAZUR, J. E., & LOGUE, A. W. (1978). Choice in a “self-control” paradigm: Effects of a fading procedure. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 30, 11–17.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  39. MCDIARMID, C. G., & RILLING, M. E. (1965). Reinforcement delay and reinforcement rate as determinants of Schedule preference. Psychonomie Science, 2, 195–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. MILLAR, A., & NAVARICK, D. J. (1984). Self-control and choice in humans: Effects of video game playing as a positive reinforcer. Learning and Motivation, 15, 203–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. MILLER, D. T., WEINSTEIN, S. M., & KARNIOL, R. (1978). Effects of age and self-verbalization on children’s ability to delay gratification. Developmental Psychology, 14, 569–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. MISCHEL, H. N., & MISCHEL, W. (1983). The development of children’s knowledge of self-control strategies. Child Development, 54, 603–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. MISCHEL, W. (1966). Theory and research on the antecedents of self-imposed delay of reward. In B. A. Maher (Ed.), Progress in experimental personality research (pp. 85–132). New York: Academie Press.Google Scholar
  44. MISCHEL, W., & GRUSEC, J. (1967). Waiting for rewards and punishments: Effects of time and probability on choice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 5, 24–31.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. MISCHEL, W., & METZNER, R. (1962). Preference for delayed reward as a function of age, intelligence, and length of delay interval. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 64, 425–431.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. MISCHEL, W., SHODA, Y., & RODRIGUEZ, M. L. (1989). Delay of gratification in children. Science, 244, 933–938.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. MISCHEL, W., & STAUB, E. (1965). Effects of expectancy on working and waiting for larger rewards. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2, 625–633.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. MOORE, B. S., CLYBURN, A., & UNDERWOOD, B. (1976). The role of affect in delay of gratification. Child Development, 47, 273–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. RACHLIN, H., & GREEN, L. (1972). Commitment, choice and self-control. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 17, 15–22.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  50. RAGOTZY S. P., BLAKELY, E., & POLING, A. (1988). Self-control in mentally Goretarded adolescents: Choice as a function of amount and delay of reinforcement. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 49, 191–199.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  51. RESNICK, L. B. (1989). Developing mathematical knowledge. American Psychologist, 44, 162–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. RODRIGUEZ, M. L., MISCHEL, W., & SHODA, Y., (1989). Cognitiye person variables in the delay of gratification of older children at risk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 57, 358–367.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. RUTTER, M. (1977). Speech delay. In M. Rutter & L. Hersov (Eds.), Child psychiatry: Modern approaches (pp. 688–716). Philadelphia: Lippincott.Google Scholar
  54. SARAFINO, E. P., RUSSO A., BARKER, J., CONSENTINO, A. M., & TITUS, D. (1982). The effect of rewards on intrinsic interest: Developmental changes in the underlying processes. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 141, 29–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. SCHWARZ, J. C., & POLLACK, P. R. (1977). Affect and delay of gratification. Journal of Research in Personality 11, 147–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. SCHWARZ, J. C., SCHRAGER, J. B., & LYONS, A. E. (1983). Delay of gratification by preschoolers: Evidence for the validity of the choice paradigm. Child Development, 54, 620–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. SCHWEITZER, J. B., & SULZER-AZAROFF, B. (1988). Self-control: Teaching tolerance for delay in impulsive children. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 50, 173–186.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  58. SHIMOFF, E., CATANIA, A. C., & MATTHEWS, B. A. (1981). Uninstructed human responding: Sensitivity of low-rate performance to schedule contingencies. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 36, 207–220.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  59. SHULL, R. L., SPEAR, D. J., & BRYSON, A. E. (1981). Delay or rate of food delivery as a determiner of response rate. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 35, 129–143.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  60. SONUGA-BARKE, E. J. S., LEA, S. E. G., & WEBLEY, P. (1989). The development of adaptive choice in a self-control paradigm. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 51, 77–85.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  61. WALSH, R. P. (1967). Sex, age, and temptation. Psychological Reports, 21, 625–629.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Behavior Analysis International 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyState University of New York at Stony BrookStony BrookUSA
  2. 2.Central Connecticut State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations