SAGE Journal Articles

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Article 1: Read, S. J., & Miller, L. C. (2002). Virtual personalities: A neural network model of personality. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6(4), 357–369. doi:10.1207/S15327957PSPR0604_10


Learning Objective: 1 & 3

Summary: Abstract: A neural network model of personality is presented. The model has two goal systems: an approach system (BAS) and an avoidance system (BIS), as well as a system that governs the level of disinhibition/constraint (IS) in the two goal systems and the behavior system. Furthermore, within both goal systems, agentic and communal goals are specified. By tweaking the parameters of this system (e.g., chronic activation of goals, sensitivity of systems), and randomly or systematically varying situational arrays, distinct patterns of “behavior” by Virtual Personalities (VPs) across “situations” emerge that fit with classic distinctions (e.g., Big 5, temperaments). Various simulations demonstrate that VPs provide an exciting vehicle for integrating disparate approaches to personality to better understand the dynamics, situational responsiveness, and consistency of persons in situations.

Questions to Consider:

1. True or false: The study of individual differences in personality may require simulating it (p. 357). Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

2. Explain how differences in personality and behavior can be understood largely in terms of differences in the chronic activation of goals. Cognitive Domain: Analysis

3. In the neural network model of personality that is presented, the model has two goal systems: an approach system (BAS) and ______ (BIS). Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

  1. bidirectional impact syndrome
  2. disinhibition/constraint
  3. an avoidance system
  4. virtual personalities

Article 2: 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(7), 843–855. doi:10.1177/0146167213482589


Learning Objective: 1 & 3

Summary: 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.

Questions to Consider:

1. Define and describe effortful control and provide an illustration of this. Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

2. There is empirical evidence that processes supporting ______ are distinct from those that give rise to involuntary reward-related impulses. Cognitive Domain: Comprehension

  1. self-regulation
  2. self-control capacity
  3. self-determination
  4. self-evaluation

3. The overall findings suggest the delay of gratification task predicts life outcomes because it measures self-control rather than ______ or reward-related impulses. Cognitive Domain: Analysis

  1. comprehension
  2. intelligence
  3. activity
  4. functionality

Article 3: Westby, C. (2012). Self-regulation and delaying gratification. Los Angeles, CA: Sage. doi:10.1177/1048395012440418


Learning Objective: 2 & 3

Summary: Abstract: Recent studies on children with language impairments indicate that they exhibit executive function deficits affecting attention, working memory, and self-regulation. Although intelligence is generally thought to play a key role in children’s early academic achievement, aspects of children’s executive function/self-regulation abilities are uniquely related to early academic success and account for greater variation in early academic progress than do measures of intelligence (Blair & Razza, 2007).

The Stanford marshmallow experiment conducted in 1972 was a study on deferred gratification, an aspect of self-regulation. The children, between 4 and 6 years of age, were led into a room where a treat of their choice (Oreo cookie, marshmallow, or pretzel stick) was placed on a table. The children could eat the marshmallow, the researchers said, but if they waited for 15 min without giving in to the temptation, they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. Some covered their eyes with their hands or turned around so that they could not see the tray; others started kicking the desk, tugging on their pigtails, or stroking the marshmallow, whereas others simply ate the marshmallow as soon as the researchers left.

Questions to Consider:

1. Resisting temptation requires ______. Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

  1. self-regulation
  2. impulse control
  3. environmental cues
  4. self-awareness

​2. The behavioral correlates of delay ability are a function not only of impulse control but also of the salience of the ______ one has to resist. Cognitive Domain: Knowledge

  1. temptation
  2. conditioning
  3. both A & B
  4. stimulus

3. Can the ability to delay gratification be modified? What evidence supports your answer? Cognitive Domain: