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Preschoolers find ways to resist temptation after learning that willpower can be energizing

Resource Type: Reports & Papers
Author(s): Haimovitz, Kyla; Dweck, Carol S.; Walton, Gregory M.;
Date Issued: May, 2020
Description: Children's tendency to delay gratification predicts important life outcomes, yet little is known about how to enhance delay of gratification other than by teaching task‐ specific strategies. The present research investigated the effect of exposing children to a model who experiences the exertion of willpower as energizing. In two experiments, 86 4‐ to 5‐year olds were read a story that represented the exertion of will‐ power as energizing or a control story before taking part in a delay of gratification task. Children exposed to a storybook character who struggled with waiting, but eventually found it energizing, spontaneously generated more delay strategies, which enhanced delay. By promoting the search for effective strategies, this approach pro‐ vides a promising direction for efforts to foster self‐regulation early in development. (author abstract)
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Funder(s): National Science Foundation (U.S.) ; John Templeton Foundation
Journal Title: Developmental Science
Volume Number: 23
Issue Number: 3
Page Range: 1-10
Journal Notes: Article number e12905
Topics: Children & Child Development > Child Development & School Readiness > Cognitive Development
Country: United States
ISSN: 1363-755X Paper
1467-7687 Online
Peer Reviewed: yes
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