The Development of Children’s Knowledge of Self-Control Strategies

  • H. N. Mischel
  • W. Mischel


The study of “metacognition” has become vigorous in recent years, with extensive research exploring the development of children’s knowledge of effective strategies in attention, comprehension, and memory (e.g., Brown, 1980; Flavell & Wellman, 1977). In contrast, the child’s developing understanding of essential strategies for self-regulation — a core aspect of human functioning, basic to virtually all conceptions of personality — has been neglected. Perhaps this neglect reflects the fact that until recently there were few objective criteria against which one could assess the relative efficacy of various strategies for self-control. Studies of the conditions that enhance or impede successful delay of gratification in children (e.g., Miller & Karniol, 1976a, 1976b; Mischel, 1974, 1981b; Toner, 1981; Toner & Smith, 1977; Yates, Lippett, & Yates, 1981) now provide a basis for assessing the child’s developing understanding against objective criteria of efficacy.


Delay Period Elementary School Child Abstract Ideation Consummatory Ideation Delay Behavior 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. N. Mischel
    • 1
  • W. Mischel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Department of PsychiatryColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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