Could waiting be a sign of wanting to please an adult and not a proxy for innate willpower? Presumably, even little kids can glean what the researchers want from them. Mischel : Maybe. They might be responding to anything under the sun. The most interesting thing, I think, about the studies is not the correlations that the press picks up, but that the marshmallow studies became the basis for testing all kinds of adults and how adults deal with difficult emotions that are very hard to distance yourself from, like heartbreak or grief.
The state of donation
Mischel: No question. People experience willpower fatigue and plain old fatigue and exhaustion.
What we do when we get tired is heavily influenced by the self-standards we develop and that in turn is strongly influenced by the models we have. Confusion about these kinds of behaviors [tremendous willpower in one situation, but not another] is erased when you realize self-control involves cognitive skills.
You can have the skills and not use them.
If your kid waits for the marshmallow, [then you know] she is able to do it. Urist: So for adults and kids, self-control or the ability to delay gratification is like a muscle?
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You can choose to flex it or not? What should I be trying to elicit from my son about why he grabbed the first little cupcake? Mischel : It sounds like your son is very comfortable with cupcakes and not having any cupcake panics and I wish him a hearty appetite. Whether the information is relevant in a school setting depends on how the child is doing in the classroom. If he or she is doing well, who cares?
Having a whole set of procedures in place can help a child regulate what he is feeling or doing more carefully. Mischel : Well, there are two reasons. First, so much research has exploded on executive function and there have been so many breakthroughs in neuroscience on how the brain works to make it harder or easier to exercise self-control.
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