More Later: Delay of Gratification and Thought About the Future in Children

Patrick Burns, Patrick A. O'Connor, Cristina Atance, Teresa McCormack

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We investigated whether individual differences in in how far away the future feels (future time perception) and the detail with which future events are imagined are related to children’s delay of gratification. We administered a delay choice task (real rewards), a delay discounting task (hypothetical rewards), a novel future time perception measure, an episodic future thinking interview and IQ measures to a sample of 7-11-year-olds (N = 132) drawn from a urban predominately white population in N. Ireland. We found a strong correlation between delay choice and delay discounting. Future time perception and EFT were related to delay discounting, however only the relation with future time perception survived controlling for age and IQ. Children who showed greater compression of future time periods were the steepest discounters.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChild Development
Early online date04 Mar 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 04 Mar 2021


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