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Document Type

Article

Abstract

The present experiment investigated the relationship between laboratory measures of self-control and delay of gratification in children and explored several other factors that may influence self-control. In the self-control paradigm, 30 four-year-old children repeatedly chose between three reinforcers received after a delay and one reinforcer received immediately. A self-imposed delay modification allowed participants to reverse their choices to the smaller, less delayed reinforcer during the delay to the larger reinforcer. In the delay-of-gratification paradigm, the children received three reinforcers if they waited 20 min until the experimenter returned or one reinforcer if they terminated the trial by ringing a bell. A strong positive correlation between the proportion of self-control choices in the self-control paradigm and the wait times in the delay-of-gratification paradigm was found, suggesting concurrent validity between the two measures. In addition, the exposure to visual food cues had no consistent effect across participants on choice in either measure.

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