Sunday, December 1, 2013


Commentary can include:

1.  Connections to the Human Sciences Chapter
2.  Connections to handout on the Social Scientists
3.  What is self-control?

Reminder:  drop-down menu (anon) and post should include first name only.


  1. Shaunakay
    This article is about child behavior that can basically predict what type of person you will be. This is all apart of human behavior and human sciences. I think this is an interpretive method because there is qualitative hard data from field research from the children with cameras and photos to support claims made. There is follow up information on talking to the children years later to see what they’ve turned out to become or behaviors that have affected them. Some children were patient enough to wait on a marshmallow despite their temptation while some couldn’t control it. Along with those who could not control it, there were stipulations as in they could ring a bell and retrieve only one right away instead of waiting for 15 minutes and getting two. I think this experiment just sheds light on all real life situations when it comes to needs and wants, self control, and temptation to do things or to learn to wait and be patient. My definition of self control is the ability to set your mind to to something and follow through with it without side desire wants.

  2. Mario
    After reading this article I came to see that there were connections to the human science chapter. For instance the way Mischel conducted his marshmallow experiment and came to see that the children who hesitated and couldn’t wait for the two marshmallows were prone to having issues with behavioral growth which he then saw that this experiment that he conducted at Bing had more meaning than he expected. I could relate this to Max Weber’s belief was that any kind of social action was purposeful, in other words any kind of human behavior had meaning behind it. As far as self-control goes many ideas come to mind, I would have to say that self-control is a ability where your ability to control your temptations even in the most difficult situations. A connection I can make to the handout on social scientists is that at times there is failure to produce falsifiable predictions, in the marshmallow experiment I came to see that there was failure to take into account other factors that made these children impatient. For instance their may have been issues with stability in the household they are in. There are also limitations on the study of human because as stated in the article Carolyn’s brother Craig had to self-evaluate himself and over course he didn’t want to be humiliated so there may have been a chance where he lied on his state of being just as stated in article and the hand out on social scientist where human subjects can be hurt, frightened or humiliated during experiments.

  3. George

    After reading and during the reading of the article, I kept on rethinking to AP Psychology, as some of the concepts I remembered were being learned, or they were being discussed. I was also wondering what I would do in the that situation. However, I was wondering about the experiment, and how accurate were their results that were brought up. For example, the article discussed how people who were unable to resist the marshmallow, had lower SAT scores. I really didn't believe this, as people are all different, as everyone does not think alike, so it is really hard to relate self-control to the SAT score. Also, the SAT scores were reported almost 12 years after the initial experiment, so people have changed over time, maybe puberty has released hormones that change people, and they might still have self-control on certain things, but not everything. Also, there are also too many variable that a social scientist cannot control such as, the person itself, as no humans are exactly like, even identical twins. Social scientists can't even come to definitions for words like poverty and intelligence, and still today large organizations like the World Health Organization still have disputes on the poverty line, and what is exactly poverty. Also, towards the end of the article a good point is brought up, how do we exactly measure self control. People are different so, they can have self control over different things, so using food might not be a good idea, as an athletic trainer might have more control over an overweight person. Also, their state of mind could be different, as one may have skipped breakfast, so seeing the marshmallow as a source of food, they pounce on it and don't want to wait for another one. What if they are full and don't want it, and just wait until they get hungry. There are just too many factors that are in the social sciences, where the natural sciences have more solid results and data. How do you measure self control? You can measure the amount of displacement of an engine with horsepower, but what do you use to measure self control. However, in the natural sciences there are still quantitative data, where descriptions are used, and that is subjective, as what is blue to one, may look purple to another. Qualitative data is more objective, as it is more definite compared to quantitative data, which is subjective, as someone is using personal judgement to make a measurement, and not an instrument.

  4. Hyon
    The article talks about an experiment that was used to test the self control in four-year olds and how that could predict how successful they'll be in life. However, there are several problems with this experiment. Because psychology is considered a soft science and deals with studying humans, it is difficult to do things, such as, assess personality and measure character strengths. Another problem is how would one measure something, such as, success and intelligence when there is a lack of consensus in human sciences. While Mischel did request the SAT scores of the test subjects, that alone would not accurately be able to measure intelligence. Humans are very complex and there are many variables that scientist cannot control. That was also Mischel's main concern when trying to improve children's self control skills. Self control can be defined as being able to cope with a stressful situation so one would be able to make the situation beneficial to oneself.

  5. (Maxwell)
    I believe self-control is one's ability to delay, resist or restrain from desires or temptations that arise in every day life. I think that this definition of self-control was very much involved or incorporated into "The secret of self control" article, with their dilemmas and scenarios of self-control throughout the experiments they conducted at Stanford University. As the article concluded linkages with self-control such as lower SAT scores, I wasn't very much surprised because patience is very much needed when it comes to test taking, and self-control is a mother of patience. I think that self-control is a very important and serious matter of today. These dilemmas of self-control relate back to the Human Sciences chapter mainly because it is apart of social anthropology. We must value our self-control more, the lack of human consensus it such a dramatic hindrance to what we claim as our human race.

  6. Cynthia
    In my opinion, self-control is being able to control one's actions, desires and behavior. the self-control article talks about how having or developing self-control is a fundamental "character strengths" because the experiment showed that people who have self-control are more likely to succeed socially and mentally. This self-control article connects to the human sciences chapter because in this chapter discuss what the definition of human sciences is? it is the study and interpretation of the social, mental, and cultural aspects of human beings and human life and it connects to the article because self-control is part of the mental aspect of human beings that scientists are trying to study in order to interpret why some people have self-control and others don't and the long term effects of self-control. And this article connects to the handout on the social scientist because based on this handout the self-control experiment can be classified as a soft science because it relies more on conjecture and qualitative analysis than rigorous adherence to the scientific method.

  7. Odunayo

    To me, self control isn't limiting yourself, it's empowering yourself. I consider self control to be the ability to do things not out of impulse but with discipline and consideration for the consequences. Impulse is a dangerous thing. The ability to control it can help one get much further in life. Without the ability to make disciplined decisions, one can develop dangerous habits such as procrastination and laziness. I was not surprised to see that those who passed the marshmallow test were more successful than those who didn't. Self control enable us to make good decisions and to be generally more successful.

  8. Ganiu

    When I compare the article to the Human Sciences, both seek to answer why we as human being do what we do. Like the article the human sciences chapter and the article take many factors into consideration when performing an experiment (i.e. race, gender and age). I can relate it also to the Weber section discussed in the article and how both this section and the article state that there is a reason as to why we did/ what caused us to react the way we did. One thing we can relate to this article and the social scientists handout is that scientist can't agree as to what causes certain humans to think and react to task the same way. Is this resilience acquired? In conclusion I believe that self control is, after looking at the picture is all of those qualities and one more thing knowing ones-self. As in your strengths and limitations, and don't forget self love. Because if you love yourself I guess you can control those dark urges in you.

  9. Nya
    According to the article self control is a suppression of impulse that is controlled by behavior. I agree with this definition. I feel that this definition is an accurate one because there is experimental evidence to support it. When running experiments like the Go/No Go Task and the Suppression Task I strongly support this working definition of self control. Though we talked in class on Monday about how hard it would be to experiment on humans, the school found a morally sound alternative, and also contributed other factors into the "breakdown" of self control and decision making. I also agree with scientists in the article when they question if self control could be taught. If self control is largely connected to behavior if you can be taught to behave then you can be taught to have self control. A conflicting variable that was presented in the article were the personality tests that were taken of the people. If this is also a factor in self control then there is a possibility that it cannot be taught, because it would be unethical to experiment on someone with an intention of changing their personality. Personality is something that is both sacred and unique to people. What I gathered from all this is that self control is something that is a personal decision that may or may not be affected by many different outcomes.

  10. Kolleen

    Walter Mischel's study can be classified under psychology, a social science. There are varying results. If the experiment was replicated it may not produce the same results as a past experiment. A potential fault in the experiment is that Mischel could have used a better indicator for education. The use of SAT scores may not be an appropriate indicator of intelligence. Smart people do not always do well on the SATs.
    There are different ways to measure self-control depending on how one defines it. Everyone may not have the same definition of self-control.
    The experiment tested a child's self control but I wonder if Walter accounted for children who may have developed their behavior. People change. Perhaps a child couldn't resist taking a marshmallow when they were 4 but were able to resist something they wanted when they were 10. If these instances were taken into account, the experiment could very well have a different outcome.
    It is amazing how such simple experiments can have meaningful outcomes. The marshmallow test tested a person's self control by observing how long a child could resist eating a marshmallow. Yet, there were complex results because not every child reacted the exact same way. In my opinion, Human sciences use simple experiments and get complex results while in natural sciences it is likely to have a complex experiment and get simple results. Simple meaning that the reasoning can be easily understood.

  11. Jose

    This article was a very interesting one to read; I have younger siblings who lack self-control, so it was interesting to see the dynamics and the science behind it. Originally, I defined self-control just as the ability to restrain yourself from doing something. However, now I see that there is a lot more to it than just being about to keep yourself from engaging in a certain behavior. To be honest, it wasn’t much of a shocker that those who were high-delaying subjects were generally more successful and healthier. It makes sense, especially when you think of impulsive eaters or students who circle an answer on an exam without reading through the whole question or its answer choices. I would not consider this type of science soft, mainly because there is so much more to it than just a premise and qualitative description; I recall that psychologists could not agree on a single factor that determined patience and self control. Some factors that were considered were family members, raw intelligence, genes, and such. One thing that I did learn from this article, which I found fascinating, was that psychologists were able to settle on the ability to distract one’s self as a factor in restraint. I always thought that there would be more to it than just thinking of something else, but it makes sense, especially since those children with little patience generally looked at the sweet present in front of them.

  12. Ya-Marie
    I really enjoyed the article, the experiment really interested me. For a long time Mischel was so focused on looking for personality tests, but not considering other factors that have an effect on results for example the teachings of parents and how that impacts the delay time. Also this article reminded me of a particular test we had taken at the beginning of the school year about perception. It asked to match words to either happy, sad, mad etc. And there was another where you matched words to names, and ethnicity to see if you were racist or not, it was some what similar to the go/no task. The conclusion to his task didn't really interest me because I thought that it was a general conclusion, I assumed that most people would already know that your delay time increases as you get older, because you either realize the benefit if you wait, or you're not interested any longer. I also thought to myself if these children continued to be tested throughout their life, wouldn't they just avoid the marshmallow because that's what Mischel is testing. If I were in the situation, although he wants my true delay time, I would avoid the marshmallow because one I know that it's an experiment, and two I know that increasing my delay time would make his experiment better. So sympathy personally would impact my results, if I was the child in the experiment.

  13. Sagen
    The purpose of the experiments conducted by Mischel was to test the delay-of-gratification or self-control of people. It started off by of getting a marshmallow to a young child and over the years turned into a long-term study involving their academic performance and career path. However, there was no one recurring result coming from each children. Mischel has accepted this and has formulated some ideas on why this was. After reading this article and the handout on Social Scientists, I believe that poverty has more of an affect on one's temptation of desire for that marshmallow than intelligence. As stated in the article, children who come from low-income families are not taught how to control themselves. Rather, it is almost like a struggle for survival.

  14. Blanca
    When we were talking about the meaning of self-control in class I said self-denying. After reading these article my thoughts remain. You deny yourself something you really want and expect a better outcome. The children denied themselves the marshmallow or the candy, no matter how much they wanted it because they wanted to get two pieces not one.I sometimes have to tel myself not to reply back to people, even though I really want to, and sometimes I even have to bite my tongue, but I know those comments that I feel I really need to say don't belong there and therefore shouldn't be said. A person who sometimes struggles with self-control myself, the article was very interesting, specially the part where it is genetic. Even though the design of the experiment was good, it still had too many factors that could not be control. For example, there were differing levels of how much the candy was desired by the child. Some may have wanted more than others... if that's the case... how can we measure self-control with reference to time? I thought it was interesting to find how children who were patient turned out to be "smarter" in the future in comparison to those who weren't. The only problem I had with that is that they are using SAT scores to judge intelligence or their GPAs.. for me those are not ways to determine the intelligence of a person... they're just there to set up a label for people to fit into. The problem with social sciences is that we are all very different, you can't say this leads to this because there will be an exemption, like those people who lacked self-control when young but developed it when older. Different factors like memories, emotions, habits... all of these personal things change who we are. And can't label us.

  15. Edwin
    In my perspective self control is the one tries to contain one's desires found in the physical world, that is only things that one can observed using sense perception. The classical example would be that of placing desirable goods on a table which is in reaching distance of a person. This example is from the New Yorker article we got in class. The caption read "children who are able to pass the marshmallow test enjoy greater success as adults". I see why the result would make sense: those children are able to self control their desires that they must have further developed that ability as they grew up into adults. But I understand that there are limitations as regard to the experiment, such as age, hunger level of participants, whether or not they were hinted prior the test, or just plain did not like marshmallows. And it is because of these limitations that I understand that self control differs from person to person, and also makes me disagree that such an action would determine how one will be in the future. To me it doesn't make sense to become less successful simply because when i was young I ate marshmallows when placed in front of me. Self control, also means to me that one knows one's limits and those of others and knows when to accept defeat.


Thanks for posting!!