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Delaying gratification is about worldview as much as willpower.

Stashed in: Young Americans, Science!, Influence!, Children, Trust, Awesome, Believe, Survivor!, Psychology!, The Internet is my religion., Willpower!, Maslow!, Poverty

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Willpower alone doesn’t explain why some children forgo a marshmallow in hand for the prospect of getting two gooey treats later. Kids’ beliefs about the reliability of the people around them, such as the trustworthiness of an experimenter, can dramatically shape their willingness to wait for a sweeter payoff, a new study finds.

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Expectations about whether it’s best to grab goodies before they disappear or trust that bigger returns will come later are as important to delaying gratification as self-control, say psychologist Celeste Kidd of the University of Rochester in New York and her colleagues. If so, preschoolers’ family backgrounds may partly explain why young children able to wait for more treats adjust particularly well as teenagers (SN: 5/27/89, p. 325).

Kids are smart. If you don't trust that the payoff will come, then why delay gratification?

Is that worldview tied to whether the child was raised rich, middle class, or poor?

Not enough testing on it yet. I like the idea though. Trust in adults is a mixed bag for young children specifically but also for people in general. Social engineering works so well because of this trust.

It just seems like it would be easier to delay gratification for those raised in environments of abundance.

Agreed. I think those raised in poverty would have been less likely to been taught discipline and delaying gratification.

It's hard to delay gratification when you're struggling for survival.

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