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COGNITIVE FACTORS IN

SELF-CONTROL

BY: MANGANDI, KRIZELLE RAINE V.

COGNITIVE FACTORS IN SELF-CONTROL


Some researchers believe that cognitive
processes play an important role in self-control.
What strategies children use to wait out the
delay period and obtain the larger reward in the
experiment with children using delay of
gratification task?

Non-preffered
item or smaller
reward

Preferred item
or larger
reward

COGNITIVE FACTORS IN SELF-CONTROL

Children who can avoid attending to a


reward are generally more resistant to
temptation.
Mischel (1966 & 1974) studied this in
children
Some of their strategies were to:
Avert their eyes and not look at the rewards
Did something else: talked or sang, or invent
games
Did better if told to focus on the abstract
properties

COGNITIVE FACTORS IN SELF-CONTROL

Focused on abstract properties of reward


E.g.
Viewed pretzels as tiny logs
Viewed marshmallows as soft fluffy pillows

COGNITIVE FACTORS IN SELF-CONTROL

Children who focused on the desired


outcome, and conceptualized it as a
desired outcome or in concrete manner,
generally became impulsive and unable to
wait long enough to receive larger later
reward compared to those who focused on
the abstract properties of the reward.

COGNITIVE FACTORS IN SELF-CONTROL


In the follow-up research, children who devised
strategies that enabled them to wait for the
preferred reward, many years later became:

More cognitively and socially competent


Academically proficient
Could cope well with frustrations
Got along well with peers

This suggests that ones ability to devise tactics


to delay gratification is a basic skill that can
enhance many areas of ones life.

HOT/COOL SYSTEM THEORY


Metcalf and Mischel (1999)
They propose that two general systems
underlie our self-control behavior
Hot system:
Emotional, action oriented, quick
to respond, under the control of
external stimuli
Cool system:
Devoid of emotion, cognitively
oriented, slow to respond, not
under control of external stimuli

HOT/COOL SYSTEM THEORY


Hot/Cool analysis suggests two general
means by which people can overcome
temptation.
Activate a nonrelevant hot system
network to compete with the hot system
network that has been activated by
temptation
Find another fun activity to distract oneself

Activate an opposing cool system that


can undermine the temptation hot system
Focusing on abstract properties

HOT/COOL SYSTEM THEORY


Metcalf and Mischel (1999)
Hot system develops early
Cool system develops late as we
develop higher levels of cognitive
awareness
Stress can shift us backwards
Chronic stress can cause hot system
dominance and thus impulsive behavior
Example: After relationship breakup