Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder revealed that children’s ability to resist temptation is significantly influenced by cultural upbringing. The study is published in the journal Psychological Science.
The research team followed up on the seminal 1972 Stanford marshmallow test that studied the link between delayed gratification, health, and success. The child participants were offered a choice between one small but immediate reward, or two small rewards if they waited for a period of time.
The reward was either a marshmallow or a pretzel stick, depending on the child’s preference. It was found that the participants with better self-control also had better life outcomes associated with weight, education, and other life measures.
In the current study, 144 child participants were recruited and randomly assigned a test involving a marshmallow or a wrapped present. They were told to wait a stipulated amount of time before eating the marshmallow or opening the wrapped gift. The parents and the researchers then observed their self-soothing ‘waiting’ techniques.
The results revealed that children who are more attuned to social conventions have the ability to resist temptation longer. In fact, genetics, neurocognitive factors, and social factors heavily influence how much self-control a person exhibits throughout his/her life.
One of the lead researchers, Yuko Munakata, elaborated: “Cultivating habits of waiting for others could be doing much more than supporting politeness … It could make it easier for kids to succeed in future life situations without having to work so hard.”
To Know More You May Refer To
Yanaoka, K., Michaelson, L. E., Guild, R. M., Dostart, G., Yonehiro, J., Saito, S., & Munakata, Y. (2022). Cultures Crossing: The Power of Habit in Delaying Gratification. Psychological Science, 33(7), 1172–1181. https://doi.org/10.1177/09567976221074650