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.
Forzano, L B.; Michels, Jennifer L.; Carapella, R K.; Conway, Patrick; and Chelonis, J J.
"Self-Control and Impulsivity in Children: Multiple Behavioral Measures,"
The Psychological Record:
3, Article 8.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol61/iss3/8