SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Duckworth, A. L., Tsukayama, E., & Kirby, T. A. (2013). Is it really self-control? Examining the predictive power of the delay of gratification task. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 843–855.

Abstract: This investigation tests whether the predictive power of the delay of gratification task (colloquially known as the “marshmallow test”) derives from its assessment of self-control or of theoretically unrelated traits. Among 56 school-age children in Study 1, delay time was associated with concurrent teacher ratings of self-control and Big Five conscientiousness—but not with other personality traits, intelligence, or reward-related impulses. Likewise, among 966 preschool children in Study 2, delay time was consistently associated with concurrent parent and caregiver ratings of self-control but not with reward-related impulses. While delay time in Study 2 was also related to concurrently measured intelligence, predictive relations with academic, health, and social outcomes in adolescence were more consistently explained by ratings of effortful control. Collectively, these findings suggest that delay task performance may be influenced by extraneous traits, but its predictive power derives primarily from its assessment of self-control.

Journal Article 2: Chernyak, N., & Kushnir, T. (2013). Giving preschoolers choice increases sharing behaviorPsychological Science, 24, 1971–1979.

Abstract: Young children are remarkably prosocial, but the mechanisms driving their prosociality are not well understood. Here, we propose that the experience of choice is critically tied to the expression of young children’s altruistic behavior. Three- and 4-year-olds were asked to allocate resources to an individual in need by making a costly choice (allocating a resource they could have kept for themselves), a noncostly choice (allocating a resource that would otherwise be thrown away), or no choice (following instructions to allocate the resource). We measured subsequent prosociality by allowing children to then allocate new resources to a new individual. Although the majority of children shared with the first individual, children who were given costly alternatives shared more with the new individual. Results are discussed in terms of a prosocial-construal hypothesis, which suggests that children rationally infer their prosociality through the process of making difficult, autonomous choices.

Journal Article 3: Keown, L. (2010). Fathering and mothering of preschool boys with hyperactivity. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35, 161–168.

Abstract: This study examined links between paternal and maternal parenting factors and preschool hyperactivity in a community sample. Forty-one hyperactive and 38 comparison boys (aged 47–62 months) and their fathers and mothers were assessed on a range of interview, parent questionnaire, and observational measures of parenting and child behavior. Results showed that less observed maternal warmth, fathers’ self-reported overreactive and less authoritative parenting practices, and less satisfaction with parenting (fathers and mothers) were all significantly related to child hyperactivity, following statistical adjustment for the effects of child conduct problems and maternal age. Lower rates of observed paternal and maternal sensitivity were not significantly associated with preschool hyperactivity, after controlling for child conduct problems and maternal age. Findings highlight the importance of considering the role of both fathers’ and mothers’ parenting in the development of boys with early onset hyperactive and attentional behavior difficulties.