ERIC Number: ED156311
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Processes Operative During Delay of Gratification.
Yates, J. Frank; Revelle, Glenda L.
This study focused on the processes occurring during the waiting period in delay of gratification situations. Sixty-four middle class preschool children chose between waiting for a preferred item and receiving a less desired item immediately. The items were of different classes, i. e., one food and one toy, and subjects waited with one, both, or neither of the rewards available for viewing. The pattern of subjects' delay times was incompatible with the predictions of two current theories of delay of gratification processes, an aversive affect model implied by Mischel and Ebbesen (1970) and Atkinson and Birch's dynamics of action (1970). Although display of rewards impaired successful delay, replicating previous results, dynamics of action predictions of differential effects for display of immediately available and delayed outcomes of different classes were not confirmed. Contradicting a prediction based on the aversive affect model, subjects' likelihoods of continued waiting did not decrease as a function of previous waiting time. Systematic observation of spontaneous subject activities during the delay period offered support for the notion that distraction facilitates successful waiting behavior. Overall, results were consistent with a proposed generalization of decision theoretical models of delay behavior which conceives of the waiting period as a series of decision-making opportunities in which successive reappraisals of the time vs value tradeoff are made. (Author/CM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Revision of paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (New Orleans, Louisiana, March 17-20, 1977)