Delay of Gratification

Mischel’s delay of gratification paradigm highlights that children who focused less on the item they desired were more likely to be successful in this test. Children that focused on the desired object were less likely to succeed at this delayed gratification process. The text states suggests that “one’s ability to devise appropriate tactics to delay gratification is a basic skill that can enhance many areas of one’s life.”

This statement, and process of focusing on other things to delay gratification, are true for adults as well as children. In the act of dieting for example, it is easier to avoid junk food if you are focusing on other activities/foods.

At home, close your eyes and try to "not think about a cookie." Chances are you pictured a cookie or thought about a cookie in some way! Thinking “don’t eat the cookie” instantly triggers the mind to think more strongly about the cookie, as if the brain skips over the "don't". With observing Mischel’s delay of gratification paradigm we can assume that adults that are able to think of other things besides the cookie are less likely to break down and eat it. This is where focusing on other tasks/objects becomes increasingly helpful in avoiding the dreaded cookie!