Delayed Gratification

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Delayed Gratification
Angela Chang, Helen Lee, Ching Yang

Background Research Summary
Why should people be able to postpone their desire? Desire is a sense of hoping for something. Scientists have discovered that if people could control their inner desire, they would be more likely to have self-discipline, higher SAT scores and are more successful. Delayed gratification is a person’s ability to control his/her desire for something for a period of time. The Marshmallow Experiment conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel of Stanford University in 1972. This experiment tests the self-control that develops in children age four to six. The experimenter does not tell the children when they will come back to reward each of them another marshmallow if they resist the temptation of being alone with a marshmallow. As a result, some children could not reject the temptation and ate the marshmallow on the table. However, some would find their own ways to try to complete the goals, which is to tolerate the “suffering” and wait for another marshmallow. For instance, some of them would “cover their eyes with their hands or turn around so that they can't see the tray, others start kicking the desk, or tug on their pigtails, or stroke the marshmallow as if it were a tiny stuffed animal." The result is that one third of the children ate the marshmallow right away after Dr. Mischel left. One third of the children waited for a while, but they ate the marshmallow eventually. The rest of the children, which is also one third of all, waited till the last minutes and got another marshmallow. Therefore, the experiment is testing if those children (participants) can delay their gratification by doing a similar experiment. Ben Zur and Breznitz studied the effect of time pressure on decision-making in 1981. The participants were asked to make decisions between gambles under three different levels of time pressure. The result is that participants make less risky choices under high time pressure. The experiment indicates that people choose different levels of risky choice depends on levels of time pressure. It suggests that people tend not to be too risky under time pressure. Additionally, the experiment illustrates that people think negative ideas when they are under high time pressure. Therefore, the experiment demonstrates that time plays a crucial role in human’s thoughts and behaviors. To investigate the relationship between delayed gratification and time, the observers decide to do this experiment. After studying two experiments that were listed above, the observers are inspired to find out the relationship between time and the delayed gratification. Since time actually affect people’s mind and behavior, in this experiment, the observers are going to see how time can affect one’s delayed gratification. The observers suggest that if the participants are allowed knowing how much time left they need to hold on their desire, they will be more likely to wait; the participants who do not know the exact time that they have to wait will be more likely to give up on waiting. References

DrReynolds. "On Becoming Babywise: The Stanford Marshmallow Study." The Stanford Marshmallow Study. 8 Sept. 2008. Web. 04 June 2012. <http://www.smartparentshealthykids.com/blog/?p=412>. Lehrer, Jonah. "The Secret of Self Control." The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 18 May 2009. Web. 3 June 2012. <http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/05/18/090518fa_fact_lehrer>. Svenson, Ola, and John A. Maule. Time Pressure and Stress in Human Judgment and Decision Making. Google. 30 Nov. 1993. Web. 04 June 2012. <http://books.google.com.tw/books?hl=zh-TW>.

Research Question
Will one’s delayed gratification affected by time?

Hypothesis
The observers suggest that if the participants are allowed knowing how much time left they need to hold on their desire, they will be more likely to wait; the participants who do not know the exact time that they have to...
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