Delay of Gratification
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Delay of gratification: The ability to reject impulsive desires in favor of preferable rewards in the future is called delay of gratification. Some researchers claim that the ability to delay gratification is rooted in cognitive mechanisms that all people likely have at their disposal (Mischel et al. 1988). However, other researchers have identified reliable individual differences in the ability to delay gratification, suggesting trait-like variability in self-control resources (Krueger et al. 1996). This entry presents an overview of individual differences in the ability and tendency to delay gratification.
In what are now known as “the marshmallow studies,” Mischel and colleagues conducted a series of experiments that measured the cognitive and attentional mechanisms of delayed gratification (Mischel et al. 1972). They found that some strategies for self-control were more effective than others. In each of these experiments, children were seated in...
KeywordsDispositional Ability Marshmallow Understanding Individual Differences Urgent Feeling Lean Peers
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