average four times longer — 12 versus three minutes — W r i t i n g

average four times longer — 12 versus three minutes — W r i t i n g

Complete ONLY the following Activities listed throughout the reading section: when it says you’ll be put in groups, just ignore that and work alone.

I will give you the article for this assignment!


1. Below are three passages from Walter Mischel’s “Delay of Gratification in Children.” Working together with your group, write a brief explanation in more ordinary language of what each passage says.

  1. “To function effectively, individuals must voluntarily postpone immediate gratification and persist in goal-directed behavior for the sake of later outcomes.”
  2. “Enduring individual differences in self-control were found as early as the preschool years.”
  3. “The challenge has been to clarify how individuals, while remaining capable of great impulsivity, also become able to control actions for the sake of temporally distant consequences and goals.”

2. The following passage appears near the end of the article. Discuss in your group whether you are convinced that such long-lasting and wide-ranging effects can be forecasted based on a simple test. How could it be that the ability to delay gratification at the age of four would predict all these effects?

A recent follow-up study of a sample of these children found that those who had waited longer in this situation at 4 years of age were described more than 10 years later by their parents as adolescents who were more academically and socially competent than their peers and more able to cope with frustration and resist temptation. At statistically significant levels, parents saw these children as more verbally fluent and able to express ideas; they used and responded to reason, were attentive and able to concentrate, to plan, and to think ahead, and were competent and skillful. Likewise they were perceived as able to cope and deal with stress more maturely and seemed more self-assured. In some variations of this laboratory situation, seconds of delay time in preschool also were significantly related to their Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores when they applied to college.

3. You’ve now read two articles written by the same person—Walter Mischel—that discuss the same topic, his marshmallow experiment. Working in your group, answer the following questions about these two articles.

  1. What are the differences between these two texts? Describe the differences.
  2. Why do you think they are so different?
  3. Which is better writing? Why?

After all the groups have reported on their answers, the class will discuss the following question.

  1. Mischel finds a surprisingly strong relationship between the ability to delay gratification as a four-year-old and a number of positive outcomes for an individual later in life. Does this relationship surprise you? Why or why not?

4. After you’ve read the article “The Marshmallow Study Revisited” (1.8) and perhaps made some notes, write a short paper—a half page would be plenty—in which you summarize the text.

  1. Here is the second paragraph from the article.

    Now a new study demonstrates that being able to delay gratification is influenced as much by the environment as by innate ability. Children who experienced reliable interactions immediately before the marshmallow task waited on average four times longer—12 versus three minutes—than youngsters in similar but unreliable situations.

    What do you think the article means when it says children are influenced as much by the “environment” as by innate ability? What does the article seem to mean by the word “environment”?

  2. The article also talks about “reliable interactions” and “unreliable situations.” What does it mean by “reliable” and “unreliable”? How did you figure out the answer to these questions?
  3. What questions does this article raise about the original Marshmallow Study by Walter Mischel?

5. For this activity, you will locate at least three recent articles on the subject of delayed gratification, at least one of which discusses the findings of Celeste Kidd. Kidd’s article was published in 2013, so you should look for articles published since then.

When you use Google to locate an article in a scholarly journal, you will often find that to read the article, you will need to pay a fee. You are not expected to do this. Instead, go to your library or to your library’s website. There you will find that your library subscribes to a number of databases filled with scholarly articles. These are usually organized by subject matter. Select the one that seems most likely to cover the topic you are researching.

In this case, the most likely databases are JSTOR, ProQuest Central, Psychology Journals, or Social Science Database. Answer the following questions about each of the articles you find.

Who was the author(s)?

What can you find out about the author(s)?

What level of expertise does the author have on the subject?

Where was the article published?

In what kind of journal, book, or website did it appear, and is that source reliable, accurate, and up-to-date?

Does the author or the publisher of the article have a particular bias?

Does that bias make the article less valuable as a resource?

Who seems to be the intended audience for this article?

Does the article provide convincing evidence to support its thesis? Which of the three articles would be the best resource for you to quote from in an essay? Why?