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Effects of temptation-inhibiting and task-facilitating plans on self-control

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Abstract

Compared the effects of 2 kinds of self-instructional plans (temptation-inhibiting and task-facilitating) on the performance of 48 3-5 yr olds in a resistance to temptation paradigm. In the experimental situation, Ss were motivated to work on a repetitive task in the face of tempting distractions. Presence and absence of the 2 plans were varied in a 2 * 2 design. Both plans were task relevant, but one suggested that the S direct his or her attention away from the temptation (temptation-inhibiting plan), while the other suggested that the S direct his or her attention toward the task (task-facilitating plan). Dependent measures assessed time spent working and amount of work completed by Ss in each condition. Results show that Ss' performance was significantly improved in temptation-inhibiting but not in task-facilitating self-instructional plan conditions. Implications for the nature of cognitive processes which mediate successful resistance to temptation are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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... In addition to these common practices, a convincing set of empirical studies demonstrates the detrimental effects of temptations on engaging in an unattractive task (Baumann & Kuhl, 2005;Heise, Gerjets, & Westermann, 1997;Mischel & Ayduk, 2004). For example, Patterson and Mischel (1976) showed that temptations might make children stop pursuing their activities. Rather than continue a boring sorting task, they turned their attention to "Mr. ...
... Second, when does an alternative turn into a temptation, entailing detrimental effects on learning? Considering that research has shown the detrimental effects of temptation on processes other than learning (e.g., Patterson & Mischel, 1976), we expect temptation to affect learning negatively. We assume that temptation lowers the motivation for the learning activity, resulting in a more negative experience of learning, shorter learning times, and lesser quality of learning. ...
... In the condition in which video clips were available but not permitted (p++), all but one of the participants were successful in resisting temptation. Unlike the younger children in the classic studies of delay of gratification (e.g., Patterson & Mischel, 1976), students did not click on the video buttons but went directly on to do the next reading task. Although these students showed academic delay of gratification (Bembenutty & Karabenick, 1998), they still suffered from the temptation as detriments of performance and experience indicated. ...
Article
Students are often faced with the temptation of attractive activities, which may interfere with the learning task and result in detrimental effects on experience and performance. Seventy-seven students (50 girls, 27 boys; M age = 15.9 years; SD = 1.65 years) participated in an experiment that reflected the typical situation of students having to learn for school while other, attractive activities are present (e.g., television). Students who carried out the learning task (learning from text) while they were waiting to watch video clips reported more motivational interference and had worse learning results than did students who watched the videos first. The degree of availability of the video clips during the learning task had no differential effect.
... These detailed plans typically consist of an if-condition (prospective situation) that is linked to a then-component (behavioural response). As such, individuals anticipate potential unwanted barriers or interference (if-condition) and how they would cope with the difficulties that may interfere with the execution of the targeted behaviour (then-component) [18]. This is particularly important in familiar settings, where individuals can anticipate potential barriers. ...
... Thirdly, it may be that participants had already anticipated potential barriers when making their action plans. Given that our study used a community sample, participants should already be familiar with their daily routines and commitments and may not have to intentionally consider potential obstacles or make if-then plans [18]. For example, an individual who is already familiar with their family's habits of gathering for dinner on one of the weekend days may intentionally set action plans to exercise on weekdays rather than weekends. ...
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The intention-behaviour gap has been a barrier to health behavioural change. A total of 85 participants (aged 18–56 years) were recruited for a study that examined how two types of planning (Action and Coping) could bridge the intention-behaviour gap and increase physical exercise behaviours. The online study took place over two weeks, with participants completing pre- and post- measures of past exercise habits, intentions to exercise, subsequent physical exercise behaviours, intrinsic motivation levels, and engagement in action and coping planning. A hierarchical regression analysis showed that intentions, past exercise habits and action planning were significant predictors of change in physical exercise behaviours. Positive correlations were observed between participants’ past habits and their exercise behaviours during the study. 71.8% of participants met the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended guidelines for physical activity at the end of the study compared to the initial 58.8%, which evidences a significant increase in participant physical exercise behaviours. Our findings revealed that while intentions are important predictors for behavioural change, cultivating habits to engage in regular exercise seems to outweigh the significance of intentions. Moreover, action planning could be a helpful intervention to bridge the intention-behaviour gap to increase overall physical exercise behaviours. In the long-term, this would improve an individual’s mental and physical wellbeing and potentially alleviate the costly burden on public health services.
... Goals that are furnished with implementation intentions should show a comparatively higher completion rate. As Lewin and his collaboraters observed (Lewin, 1926;Mahler, 1933;Ovsiankina, 1928), once a goal-directed action has been started, chances for its eventual completion are substantially raised. Accordingly, we ran two studies exploring whether or not implementation intentions raise the completion rate of longer-term projects (Gollwitzer and Brandstiitter, Studies 1 and 2;1997). ...
... This has been shown some time ago by Patterson and Mischel (1976) who equipped children with specific plans to escape the temptations of "Mr. Clown Box" while they were trying to complete the boring tasks of putting as many pegs into a pegboard as possible. ...
... Al primer grupo se le pidió que inhibiera la atención dirigida al objeto tentador, al segundo grupo que se enfocara en el premio-recompensa, y al tercer grupo que tuviera la atención centrada en la espera. Como resultado se observó que la resistencia a la tentación era más facilitada en el primer caso (Patterson & Mischel, 1976). ...
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El Marshmallow Experiment fue realizado por Mischel a partir de 1957 con el objetivo de analizar la capacidad de los niños para demorar la gratificación. Según Mischel los niños pequeños que pueden lograr una demora de la gratificación auto-impuesta son quienes en su adolescencia obtendrán mejores resultados en los planos académico y social. En la teoría propuesta por Freud se considera que los niños no podrían desarrollar un control de los impulsos autoimpuesto. Mischel, considerando los resultados obtenidos, pensaba haber interpelado la hipótesis freudiana del control de los impulsos en niños. Pero, las distintas réplicas de las pruebas, realizadas por el propio Mischel, indican que el 70% de los niños no pudo demorar la gratificación, mientras que solo el 30% logró hacerlo. Se concluye entonces que los estudios dentro del paradigma Mischel parecen confirmar más que poner en duda las ideas de Freud.
... Finally, we explored whether different types of ifthen plans might vary in their effectiveness. Specifically, we focused on plans to ignore the distractions (distraction-inhibiting plans) vs. to concentrate on the task at hand (task-facilitating plans; Gollwitzer & Schaal, 2008;Patterson & Mischel, 1976), as these plans have been observed to produce differential outcomes for certain individuals (e.g., high test anxious individuals benefit only from distractioninhibiting plans; Parks-Stamm, . ...
... It is necessary to seek out appropriate situations, wait for suitable occasions, and reach agreement with other persons who contribute to motive satisfaction. Situations demanding a delay in gratification for a child (see Patterson & Mischel, 1976) or in which two contradictory motives emerge are prototypical waiting and conflict situations. To regulate their own emotions, it is necessary for children to acquire and autonomously apply effective strategies so they can modify the intensity and quality of their emotions in line with social norms and situational demands without having to fall back on interpersonal regulation by their caregivers (see Friedlmeier,l999a). ...
Article
How far human emotions are shaped by their biological or cultural inheritance has led to controversial theories. This article proposes a developmental view on modeling theories that can bridge the gap between these two controversial positions and open up new empirical opportunities for further research. Regarding this, the author presents a contextualistic theory of emotion, the internalization model of emotional development. This theory supposes that expressive reactions take on a major mediating function in the interactions between caregiver and child: They are the main means especially in early ontogenesis by which caregiver and child communicate in order to regulate their behavior mutually. It can be shown that many expression signs do not have a biological origin; they are a product of culture-historical processes of symbolization that color emotions also in a culture-specific way. The article describes the first three stages of emotional development and presents also own studies: (1) The stereotypical precursor emotions of neonates are the starting point from which the sign mediated emotions of toddlers emerge. These emotions are already mediated by expression signs that are adaptive to the particular cultural context, but they still have an interpersonal regulation function (e. g., they are oriented toward triggering actions by the caregiver that will serve the child's motives). (2) It is only after infancy that emotions take over an intrapersonal regulation function of triggering motive-serving actions by the child him- or herself. (3) From about the age of six years onward, expression signs start to become internalized, creating a private world of feelings that is no longer closely linked to overt expressions.
... Recall that we define academic diligence as working assiduously on academic tasks which are beneficial in the long-run but tedious in the moment, especially in comparison to more enjoyable, less effortful diversions. As such, a critical design element involved simulating a scenario in which students would need to muster continuous effort to remain focused on a task that they knew to be valuable to their long-term goals, but which was far less appealing than an available alternative activity (see also Patterson & Mischel, 1975, 1976. ...
... ignoring distractions) and task-facilitating plans (i.e. increasing effort on task in the face of distractions) to cope with distractions were successful in protecting participants Action planning and coping planning 567 from these distractions and improved performance on the instructed task (Gollwitzer & Schaal, 1998;Patterson & Mischel, 1976). ...
Article
Objectives: Planning has been proposed as one key process to bridge the theoretical gap between intention and action. This paper examines the role of action planning and coping planning in lifestyle changes of CHD patients. Coping Planning refers to planned coping responses in anticipated risk situations while action plans specify where, when and how to implement one's intention. Methods: In a multicenter study, 500 CHD in-patients completed questionnaires concerning physical exercise, behavioural intentions and planning during rehabilitation as well as 2 and 4 months after discharge. A newly developed instrument for the assessment of action planning and coping planning is briefly introduced. Data are analysed by GLM and regression analysis. Results: The planning scales are reliable and valid measures to assess action planning and coping planning independently. At baseline, far higher scale values are found for action planning than for coping planning. The process of coping planning unfolds with the rehabilitation treatment and the experiences after discharge. This is indicated by a strong increase from time 1 to the first follow-up. Planning: predicts exercise over and above past behaviour and intentions. In regressions from time 3 exercise on tl measures, exercise baseline, intentions and action planning contribute to the prediction, with action planning being more powerful than intentions. In predicting subsequent exercise from time 2 measures, coping planning is the most powerful predictor of exercise, together with the exercise baseline. Conclusions: Coping planning is a crucial process for changes of habitual behavioural patterns. It requires experience and unfolds its predictive power after individuals having dealt with potential problems of action performance. Thus, coping planning is a process to target in interventions.
... In order for the person to begin and continue pursuit of a single goal, he or she must successfully inhibit alternative goals (Gollwitzer, Bayer, & McCulloch, 2005;Gollwitzer et al., 1990;Gollwitzer & Schaal, 1998). Early evidence for the function of goal shielding can be gleaned from research conducted with children in which instructing them to inhibit a distraction while pursuing a focal task was found to increase the attention paid to the focal task and improve the performance on that task (Patterson & Mischel, 1976). One limitation of that research is that participants anticipated a future distraction, so it is not possible to evaluate whether goal shielding occurs without being prompted with explicit instructions. ...
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People have many goals, presenting them with a challenge regarding how to navigate their multiple pursuits in each instant. Two such strategies exist, referred to here as sequential and concurrent goal pursuit. The present perspective on multiple goal pursuit is presented through which we can better understand (a) the resource demands that necessitate strategies of multiple goal pursuit, (b) the differences between sequential and concurrent goal pursuit, and (c) when each of these strategies is likely to be adopted. The explanatory power of the current framework for diverse behavioral domains, including diet, exercise, addiction, and moral behavior is discussed, as are the implications for acting on one’s goals and the impact of success versus failure when pursuing each strategy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
... Nonetheless, research shows that even preschoolers can be taught successfully how to control their behavioral responses, if given directions that are very specific to the particular behavior that they are trying to inhibit (e.g., Patterson & Mischel, 1976). When working with very young children, then, the focus should be specifically on the task (e.g., "Think about how you are not going to hit your friend if she takes your blocks. ...
Article
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Contemporary research on the development and prevention of aggressive behavior in childhood and adolescence emphasizes the importance of social-cognitive factors such as perceptual biases, problem-solving skills, and social-moral beliefs in the maintenance of aggression. Indeed, school-based social-cognitive intervention approaches have been identified as best practices by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, because child age is an important covariate of both intervention effectiveness and social-cognitive ability, school-based prevention program designers should keep in mind a number of issues identified through developmental research. In this paper, we review the social-cognitive model of aggressive behavior development as applied to prevention programming. We then discuss some of the ways in which the broader developmental research base can inform the design of aggression prevention programs. EDITORS' STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS: Educational administrators and policy makers will find evidence in this review that school-based programs that employ a social-cognitive model represent a strategy that works for preventing violence. Prevention researchers will also benefit from the authors' insights regarding theoretical mediating processes and the importance of a developmental view.
... 이와 유사하게, 또 다른 연구에서도 어머니의 활 동성이 높을수록 유아의 만족지연능력이 낮았다 (Silverman & Ragusa, 1990 (Wachs & Gandour, 1983)에서 접근할 수 있다. 실제로 몇몇 연구들 은 이에 관한 결과를 보고하고 있다 (나종혜, 2003;Park, Belsky, Putnam, & Crnic, 1997 (Mischel & Mischel, 1983;Mischel & Underwood, 1974) (김수혜, 2000;Nisan, 1974;Patterson, & Mischel, 1976) (Raver, 1996;Moore et al., 1976;Mischel et al., 1972) ...
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine relationships between preschoolers' temperament, mothers' parenting behaviors, and ability to delay gratification. A sample of 131 preschool children aged from 4 to 5 participated in a delay-of-gratification experiment, as reconstructed by Rodriguez and his colleagues (2005). Mothers answered questionnaires on their parenting behaviors and children's temperament. Data were analyzed by t-test, Pearson's correlation coefficients, and multiple regressions. Children's activity as well as mothers' warmth and control predicted the ability to delay gratification; significant interaction effects were found between children's activity and maternal warmth on the ability to delay gratification. It would be plausible to intervene in children's activity level and improve the ability to delay gratification.
... It is necessary to seek out appropriate situations, wait for suitable occasions, and reach agreement with other persons who contribute to motive satisfaction. Situations demanding a delay in gratification for a child (see Patterson & Mischel, 1976) or in which two contradictory motives emerge are prototypical waiting and conflict situations. To regulate their own emotions, it is necessary for children to acquire and autonomously apply effective strategies so they can modify the intensity and quality of their emotions in line with social norms and situational demands without having to fall back on interpersonal regulation by their caregivers (see Friedlmeier,l999a). ...
... Miller et al. (2012) examined whether students view "willpower" as a limited or nonlimited resource. "Willpower" is typically inferred by the degree to which individuals show "self-control" in the face of motivational temptations (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996;Patterson & Mischel, 1976). For example, when motivation to engage in an activity may be low, willpower is inferred by the extent to which individuals exert effort and persist anyway. ...
... Supporting this idea, it has been found that high self-controllers can persist in aversive tasks by deploying emotion regulation strategies, such as focusing on the positive consequences of tasks, to down-regulate their negative feelings (Hennecke, Czikmantori, & Brandstätter, 2019)). In contrast, people may stop procrastinating if they can get rewards after completing the task on time because rewarding outcomes can facilitate task engagements (Patterson & Mischel, 1976). Selfcontrol that promotes a consideration for the value of long-term benefits and guides far-sighted actions (Berkman, Hutcherson, Livingston, Kahn, & Inzlicht, 2016;Hare, Camerer, & Rangel, 2009;Harris, Hare, & Rangel, 2013) can also reduce procrastination by increasing the value associated with the outcomes of a task. ...
Article
Converging theory and evidence highlights procrastination as a form of self-control failure. However, the underlying neural correlates of how self-control is associated with procrastination remains unclear. As such we investigated the neural basis for self-control association with procrastination using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and resting-state functional connectivity (FC) approaches. The VBM results showed a positive correlation between self-control and the gray matter volume of left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC). Then the FC of left dlPFC to lateral orbital frontal cortex (lOFC) and right dorsal medial frontal cortex (dMFC) were all negatively correlated to procrastination and showed a mediating effect. This indicates that brain functional communication involves in emotion regulation and valuation processing may account for the association between self-control and procrastination.
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A reversal design with multiple-baseline features was used to assess the efficacy of self-instructions, self-correction, and a combination of the two on an LD boy's handwriting performance. The boy's presenting problem was very poor handwriting skills. Results indicated that a set of self-instructions designed to provide the student with a strategy for writing appropriately was highly effective, as was a self-correction condition and a condition combining the two treatments. A “booster” was employed to maintain treatment effects.
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Conflicts between immediately rewarding activities and more enduringly valued goals abound in the lives of school-age children. Such conflicts call upon children to exercise self-control, a competence that depends in part on the mastery of metacognitive, prospective strategies. The process model of self-control organizes these strategies into five families corresponding to sequential phases in the process by which undesired and desired impulses lose or gather force over time. Situation selection and situation modification strategies involve choosing or changing physical or social circumstances. Attentional deployment and cognitive change strategies involve altering whether and how objective features of the situation are mentally represented. Finally, response modulation strategies involve the direct suppression or enhancement of impulses. The process model of self-control predicts that strategies deployed earlier in the process of impulse generation and regulation generally will be more effective than those deployed later. Implications of this self-control perspective for school-age children are considered.
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Although prior research has shown that young children exhibit enhanced self-control when they use verbal strategies provided through adult instructions, little work has examined the role of children's spontaneous verbalizations or motor behavior as strategies for enhancing self-control. The present study examined the usefulness of spontaneous verbal and motor strategies for 39 3- and 4-year-old children's ability to exercise self-control during a resistance-to-temptation task. After a 2-min play period, participants were asked by an experimenter not to touch an attractive train set while he was out of the room. Children were videotaped during the 3-min waiting period and videos were coded for frequency and duration of touches, motor movements, and verbalizations. Results indicated that self-control was improved by using both motor and verbal strategies. Children who were unable to resist touching the forbidden toy used limited motor or verbal strategies. These findings add to the growing literature demonstrating the positive role of verbalizations on cognitive control and draw attention to motor behaviors as additional strategies used by young children to exercise self-control.
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The current intervention tested whether a metacognitive self-regulatory strategy of goal pursuit can help economically disadvantaged children convert positive thoughts and images about their future into effective action. Mental contrasting with implementation intentions (MCII) entails mental contrasting a desired future with relevant obstacles of reality and forming implementation intentions (if-then plans) specifying when and where to overcome those obstacles. Seventy-seven fifth graders from an urban middle school were randomly assigned to learn either MCII or a Positive Thinking control strategy. Compared to children in the control condition, children taught how to apply MCII to their academic wishes and concerns significantly improved their report card grades (η(2) = .07), attendance (η(2) = .05), and conduct (η(2) = .07). These findings suggest that MCII holds considerable promise for helping disadvantaged middle school children improve their academic performance.
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Resumo Esta intervenção testou se uma estratégia metacognitiva autorregulatória de persecução de metas pode ajudar crianças economicamente desfavorecidas a converterem imagens e pensamentos positivos sobre o seu futuro em acção efectiva. O Contraste Mental com Intenções de Implementação (MCII) implica contrastar mentalmente um futuro desejado com obstáculos relevantes da realidade e formar intenções de implementação (planos Se controlo, as crianças às quais foi ensinado o MCII para aplicar aos seus desejos e preocupações académicas melhoraram significativamente as notas nos seus boletins escolares (ɳ 2 = .07), assiduidade (ɳ 2 = .05), e conduta (ɳ 2 = .07). Estas descobertas sugerem que o MCII promete ser uma ajuda considerável às crianças economicamente desfavorecidas para melhorarem os seus desempenhos académicos.
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Chapter
Research on self-control has enjoyed tremendous growth over the past few decades, as researchers from a variety of disciplines have tested different self-control techniques in different domains of self-control. The result has been a proliferation of theories, models, and approaches, each offering important, but so far largely unrelated insights. The lack of a unifying framework has been an impediment to the development of an incremental science of self-control, and has left researchers struggling to relate their work to that of others. In this chapter, we present a general model of self-control, which we call the cybernetic process model of self-control. This model integrates two existing models - Cybernetic control theory (Carver & Scheier, 1982) and the process model of emotionregulation (Gross, 1998b) - and describes the process through which tempting impulses arise and may be regulated. The cybernetic process model of self-control provides a conceptual framework for organizing disparate findings from research on self-control, and serves as a useful aid in selecting and designing appropriate self-control techniques.
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Students often work on academic tasks in the face of an attractive alternative. In an experimental setting, we examined how students perceive temptation differently across time depending on their self-efficacy for self-regulated learning and autonomy-supportive contexts. Specifically, we focussed on how individual differences in self-efficacy for self-regulated learning interact with different autonomy-supportive contexts (provision of either choice or relevance) to predict students’ perceived temptation, affect, and performance across time. Results indicated that students low in self-efficacy for self-regulated learning perceived an increase in temptation across time, while those high in self-efficacy for self-regulated learning perceived a decrease in temptation across time. Moreover, we found that especially for students with low self-efficacy for self-regulated learning, providing choice opportunities or adding relevance to the task predicted lower temptation, higher positive affect, and lower negative affect.
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Procrastination adversely affects individual’s learning, working, health, and well-being, which troubles many people around the world. Previous studies have indicated that people with higher achievement motivation tend to have less procrastination. However, how achievement motivation is linked with procrastination at the neural level is still poorly understood. Here, we adopted the voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) methods to study this issue. The VBM analysis revealed that higher achievement motivation was correlated with larger gray matter volumes in left precuneus (lPre). Furthermore, the RSFC results showed that the functional connectivity between lPre and right anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) was positively associated with achievement motivation and negatively correlated with procrastination. More importantly, a mediation analysis demonstrated that achievement motivation fully mediated the relation between lPre–rACC connectivity and procrastination. These findings suggested that lPre–rACC coupling might be the neural correlate underlying the association between achievement motivation and procrastination.
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Children are expected to self‐regulate their behaviour, even in emotionally charged situations. Yet, such expectations for self‐regulation, the degree to which compliance is expected, and the specific regulatory behaviours deemed desirable, vary by culture, age of child, and specific situation. In this study, 34 Chinese (17 females) and 39 U.S. (19 females) preschoolers were observed and compared in two socioemotionally challenging situations. Children's compliance to explicit and implicit rules, their regulatory behaviours, and the associations between regulatory behaviours and rule compliance were analysed across the two samples. U.S. children showed greater resistance to temptation and similar levels of repair of mishap as compared to Chinese children. In addition, Chinese children used more avoidance and self‐soothing strategies and fewer distractive strategies than U.S. children. The effectiveness of regulatory behaviours in predicting rule compliance varied by both task condition and cultural group. Object and self distractions were associated with lower rule compliance in the mishap task. Social distraction was positively predictive of U.S. children's rule compliance in the mishap task, but negatively associated with their compliance in the temptation task. Social distraction was unhelpful for Chinese children's compliance in both tasks. The complexities of cultural variations and dynamics in their relations to children's rule compliance and regulatory behaviours are discussed.
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Purpose The purpose of this study was to employ the theoretical domains framework (TDF) to identify behaviour change factors related to leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) in spinal cord injury (SCI) ambulators. Methods A cross-sectional design was employed. Among 43 SCI ambulators, the TDF behaviour change factors were assessed, along with the duration, types, and intensities of LTPA performed over the previous week. Results The TDF behaviour change factors identified as barriers to LTPA included: knowledge, beliefs about capabilities, coping planning, and goal conflict. Approximately 71.81 mins/day (SD = 75.41) was spent doing LTPA. Participants reported aerobic and resistance training activities, along with several other types of LTPA (e.g., rock climbing). Coping planning, action planning, goal conflict, and skills explained significant variance in time spent on LTPA (R²adjusted = 0.259, p < 0.01), but only action planning uniquely predicted LTPA. Conclusions Greater use of coping and action planning, lower levels of goal conflict and stronger skills were associated with greater participation in LTPA. These factors will be targeted for a future LTPA-enhancing intervention for SCI ambulators, informed by behaviour change theory. SCI ambulators participate in a surprisingly wide range of LTPA. Rehabilitation specialists can use this list to suggest activities for patients with SCI who ambulate. • IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION • Barriers to leisure-time physical activity for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) who ambulate include lack of knowledge, weak beliefs about capabilities, lack of coping planning, and high goal conflict. • Physical activity interventions for individuals with SCI who ambulate should include action and coping planning, goal conflict, and skills. • Physical activity interventions should be created systematically using behaviour change theory and involvement of stakeholders throughout the development process. • Practitioners can promote skills training in adapted activities like gardening, cycling, and rock-climbing for ambulators with SCI.
Article
Presented in symposium, Broader dimensions of assessment: Uses in committees on the handicapped. Meetings of the National Association of School Psychologists, San Diego, March 1979.
Article
In a world where they are inundated with potential temptations, how are successful dieters able to resist the urge to give in to unhealthy foods? Four studies suggest distance is one tool that may enable people to forego temptation. People with strong goals to eat healthy preferred to be farther away from unhealthy foods (Study 1a), which was associated with feeling less tempted by and less likely to give in to them (Study 1b). In addition, successful self-regulators with goals to restrict unhealthy eating perceptually represented the distance to unhealthy foods as greater than the distance to healthy foods (Study 2). Moreover, in a week-long food diary study, distancing from temptations helped people make healthier food choices (Study 3). The studies suggest that successful self-regulators' motivations to avoid unhealthy foods are reflected in the way they structure and perceive the world. Distancing may allow people space to make healthier choices.
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We tested the domain-specificity or domain-generality of academic diligence in middle-school students using the Academic Diligence Task (ADT), a performance task that assesses effort on tedious problems in the face of digital distractions. Students in 8th grade (N = 439) were randomly assigned to individually complete a math, verbal, or spatial ADT or to a combination of all three. Confirmatory factor analyses suggested domain-generality, as did the fact that ADT scores in a given domain did not differentially predict academic achievement in that domain. Results indicated that all three ADTs had adequate external and predictive validity, but convergent validity varied. Whereas both math and verbal ADT scores correlated with teacher-reports of grit and self-control, only math scores consistently correlated with self-reports of the same constructs; these measures did not correlate with spatial ADT scores. Thus, the math ADT is the best performance measure of diligence, followed by the verbal ADT.
Article
Considerable research has shown that planning plays an important role in goal pursuit. But how does the way people plan affect goal pursuit? Research on this question is scarce. In the current research, we examined how planning the steps required for goal attainment in chronological order (i.e., forward planning) and reverse chronological order (i.e., backward planning) influences individuals' motivation for and perceptions of goal pursuit. Compared with forward planning, backward planning not only led to greater motivation, higher goal expectancy, and less time pressure but also resulted in better goal-relevant performance. We further demonstrated that this motivational effect occurred because backward planning allowed people to think of tasks required to reach their goals more clearly, especially when goals were complex to plan. These findings suggest that the way people plan matters just as much as whether or not they plan.
Article
Self-control in one’s food choices often depends on the regulation of attention toward healthy choices and away from temptations. We tested whether selective attention to food cues can be modulated by a newly developed proactive self-control mechanism—control readiness—whereby control activated in one domain can facilitate control in another domain. In two studies, we elicited the activation of control using a color-naming Stroop task and tested its effect on attention to food cues in a subsequent, unrelated task. We found that control readiness modulates both overt attention, which involves shifts in eye gaze (Study 1), and covert attention, which involves shift in mental attention without shifting in eye gaze (Study 2). We further demonstrated that individuals for whom tempting food cues signal a self-control problem (operationalized by relatively higher BMI) were especially likely to benefit from control readiness. We discuss the theoretical contributions of the control readiness model and the implications of our findings for enhancing proactive self-control to overcome temptation in food choices.
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The inability to delay of gratification is frequently offered as a behavioral marker of “impulsivity” or the lack of “willpower.” This paper presents an historical review of the “Marshmallow Test,” the highly popular paradigm for examining children’s ability to wait. Early experimental investigations demonstrated that children’s ability to wait is powerfully impacted by the physical presence of rewards, but that this challenge is readily overcome by instructions that modify if and how children attend to the rewards. These investigations also show that in the absence of instructions to do otherwise, preschoolers typically focus attention on rewards, making waiting difficult. Longitudinal follow-ups that now span nearly 40 years show patterns of direct relations indicative of more adaptive functioning over the life course by those children who waited during preschool. Most importantly, these relations are only found for children who were tested in experimental settings where rewards were present and children were left to their own coping strategies. Preschool waiting also moderates potentially maladaptive relations in adults, suggesting that self-control can be a protective buffer for other vulnerabilities. Finally, recent work documents connections between lifelong patterns of self-control and neural processing related to both cognitive control and the efficiency of working memory. Collectively, these findings suggest that children’s ability to wait as preschoolers derives in large part from deliberate strategies deployed by children to deal with the challenge they face. This interpretation raises important questions about the role of impulsivity in children’s waiting as well as the types of psychological processes that might be central to demonstrations of willpower.
Article
Provides the biography of Walter Mischel, and announces that he has received the APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions (1982) for outstanding contributions to personality theory and assessment. The award citation and a bibliography are also provided.
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Although college students may recognize that, at some times, cell phone use can be inappropriate (e.g., during a class lecture) or even life-threatening (e.g., while driving), they may still respond to calls or text messages in these situations in order to reap short-term rewards or eliminate uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. This study tested the prediction that mindfulness-based acceptance training may help prevent counterintentional cell phone use among college students. The mindfulness-based intervention was tested against implementation intention planning. Both of these strategies have been successfully used in numerous contexts to help people resist temptations and deal with distracting thoughts or urges. Participants perceived implementation intention planning to be more helpful than mindfulness training with reducing temptation to respond to calls and text messages as well as with reducing distraction caused by the phone. However, compared to control participants who only received a message about the consequences of cell phone distraction, students who received both the message and mindfulness training were significantly less likely to respond to a text message during their class time. Class time texting behavior did not differ significantly between the implementation intention condition and the message-only control condition. Only informing students about the potential negative consequences of cell phone use in certain situations may not be sufficient for preventing counterintentional cell phone use. Teaching students how to inhibit this behavior also is important. Mindfulness-based acceptance may be a promising technique to teach students how to prevent class-time cell phone use.
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We used a marble game paradigm to explore whether 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds’ saving was facilitated by a verbal prompt alerting them to their choices (i.e., saving or spending marbles). Two marble games differing in desirability assessed whether children in a “prompted” condition saved more than those who did not receive a prompt (“spontaneous” condition) and whether saving increased with age. We also assessed whether children’s saving was related to their inhibitory control (IC), theory of mind (ToM), working memory (WM), and receptive language ability. Children in the prompted condition saved significantly more marbles than children in the spontaneous condition, and saving improved significantly with age. After controlling for age, saving was not positively associated with IC, ToM, WM, or receptive language ability. Implications for children's saving, episodic foresight, and future research are discussed.
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This study investigated the benefits of self-distancing (i.e., taking an outsider's view of one's own situation) on young children's perseverance. Four- and 6-year-old children (N = 180) were asked to complete a repetitive task for 10 min while having the option to take breaks by playing an extremely attractive video game. Six-year-olds persevered longer than 4-year-olds. Nonetheless, across both ages, children who impersonated an exemplar other-in this case a character, such as Batman-spent the most time working, followed by children who took a third-person perspective on the self, or finally, a first-person perspective. Alternative explanations, implications, and future research directions are discussed.
Chapter
An author of a chapter on self-control has to demonstrate just such self-control. In my own case this was necessary for two reasons. The first reason is that I was on sabbatical leave at the University of Hawaii (escaping the Canadian winter) when the completion date for this chapter was approaching. Can you think of a better illustration of a situation that calls for “self-control”?
Chapter
Practitioners in the child-care professions—especially clinical psychologists, pediatricians, psychiatrists, and educators—are very frequently called upon to deal with children who have serious academic difficulty in school and/or behave in ways that exasperate adults. The recognition, clinical description, and treatment of such children are not recent developments. On the contrary, clear descriptions of such children and a variety of treatment methods can be found in the 19th-century literature on idiocy (mental retardation), insanity (behavior disorders), and child care (Hallahan & Kauffman, 1977; Kauffman, 1976, 1977). However, in recent decades new labels have been suggested for the problems some of these children present: minimal brain dysfunction (MBD), hyperactivity (HA), and learning disability (LD). In brief, the labels are used to refer to children who are thought to have intelligence above the retarded range but who are suspected of having brains that do not function properly (MBD), show high rates of socially inappropriate behavior (HA), and achieve academically at a level far below what one would predict on the basis of their IQs (LD).
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The influence on Scottish preschool children's self-control of labels regarding patience given directly to the children themselves, and of the expectations regarding the children's patience provided to adult testers, was investigated. The children's self-control was assessed in a task in which each child's possession of accumulating candy rewards was made contingent upon the child's stopping of further accumulation. Preschool children directly labeled beforehand as "patient" demonstrated significantly longer delay maintenance than did preschoolers hearing a remark irrelevant to the task. A significant effect of tester expectancy was found, with children not directly labeled as "patient" beforehand being more sensitive to adult expectations than were labeled children.
Article
Conducted 2 experiments with a total of 71 preschoolers to investigate the effects of giving such Ss plans to resist distraction on their actual resistance in a subsequent work situation. A paradigm was developed in which the S, while motivated to work on a repetitive task, was exposed to a "Clown Box" which went through a standardized routine designed to distract the S from his work. The dependent variable assessed the amount of time the S worked in the E's absence. In Exp I, it was found, whether or not the Ss had rehearsed the actions called for in the plans, those who were given 3 plans for resistance worked longer than those who were not given plans. In Exp II it was found that Ss who were given only 1 plan worked as much as Ss who were given 3 plans, and more than Ss who were not given plans. (20 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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22 1ST-GRADE AND 22 6TH-GRADE SS WERE ADMINISTERED MEASURES OF ATTENTION BASED ON AN RT TASK INVOLVING VARYING PREPARATORY INTERVALS WITH ASSOCIATED GSR MEASURES, AND EXPERIMENTAL AND TEACHER-RATING MEASURES OF RESISTANCE TO TEMPTATION (RTT) TO CHEATING. IN BOTH GROUPS SIGNIFICANT CORRELATIONS WERE FOUND BETWEEN GOOD PERFORMANCE ON ATTENTION MEASURES AND RTT. THE HIGHEST CORRELATION (R'S = .61, .59) WAS BETWEEN HIGH VARIABILITY STANDARD DEVIATION OF RT AND HIGH CHEATING. ORTHOGONALLY ROTATED FACTOR ANALYSES INDICATED 3 SIMILAR FACTORS AT EACH GRADE: (1) TASK CONFORMITY INCLUDED PSYCHOMOTOR EFFICIENCY AND TEACHER RTT RATING VARIABLES, (2) INNER STABILITY INCLUDED EXPERIMENTAL RTT AND PSYCHOMOTOR STABILITY VARIABLES, AND (3) RESTLESSNESS INCLUDED NONSPECIFIC GSR AND RTT RATING VARIABLES. IT IS NOTED THAT ATTENTION (PSYCHOMOTOR) AND MORAL VARIABLES WERE LOADED ON EACH FACTOR RATHER THAN BEING SEPARATED BY THE FACTOR ANALYSIS. THE RELATIONS OF THE PSYCHOMOTOR TO THE MORAL VARIABLES AT THE 2 AGES ARE DISCUSSED. AN EGO- RATHER THAN A SUPEREGO-STRENGTH INTERPRETATION OF MORAL BEHAVIOR IS ADVANCED TO FIT THE FINDINGS. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT MORAL TEMPTATION DISTRACTORS FROM TASK PERFORMANCE ARE PSYCHOLOGICALLY RELATED TO THE ORDINARY DISTRACTORS OF TASK PERFORMANCE. (40 REF.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)