Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Psychological Sciences

Document Type



Effortful control is one component of self-regulation that consists of the ability to delay a dominant response in favor of a non-dominant response. One way to measure effortful control is through “Hot” self-regulation tasks, which are when a participant is asked to delay a dominant response when there is a reward or punishment associated with the task. There are two types of “Hot” self-regulation tasks: effective decision making and delay of gratification. One way to assess of delay of gratification abilities is through an experimental task known as Snack Delay, where participants (usually children) are shown a snack but are asked to wait to eat it. If they are able to delay their dominant response and wait, they are rewarded with either a preferred snack or more snacks. The current study sought to create a more refined measure of delayed gratification by modifying the original coding system to be a more complex and sensitive measure in an attempt to capture a wider range of self-regulation abilities. It was shown that this new coding scale could be accurately and reliably used when coding. This current study also examined differences in delay of gratification abilities between 3-year-olds and 4-yearolds, which produced no significant differences.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Elizabeth Lemerise, Ph.D.


Developmental Psychology | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences