KEY STUDY- Casey et al (2011)

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  • Casey et al. (2011)
    • Aim
      • Wether it was dispositional behaviour
      • To see if the ability to delay gratification or not was a consistent personality trait
      • To discover if behavior was situational or not
    • Participants
      • 565 participants aged 4 - Marshmallow test
        • 1993- 155 participants now in their twenties- Questionnaire on self control
          • 2003- 135 participants now in thirties- follow up questionnaire on self control
            • 117 participants chosen to take part (high and low delayers)
              • 59 agreed to take part
    • Method
      • longitudinal study- over 40 years
        • Quasi experiments- IV was whether participant was high or low delayer (naturally occurring)
          • Experiment one
            • 59 participants
            • cool version: male and female stimuli
            • hot version: happy and fearful faces
            • each face appeared for 500ms follow by a 1s interstimulus interval
            • a total of 160 trials presented in a pseudorandomised order (120 go, 40 no go)
            • tasks presented using programmed laptops sent to participants homes
          • Experiment two
            • fMRI used to examine neural correlates of the delay of gratification
            • 27 of 59 participants from Exp 1 agreed to take part
            • each face appeared for 500ms followed by an interval ranging from 2 to 14.5s
            • 48 trials presented in a pseudorandomised order (35 go, 13 no go)
            • task viewable by a projection and a Neuroscreen five-button resposne pad recorded button responses and reaction time
    • Results
      • Experiment one
        • no significant difference between reaction times of high and low delayers
          • no significant differences on go trials (99.8% on cool, 99.5% on hot)
            • both groups made mistakes on no go trials (9.96% on cool, 12.2% on hot)
              • low delayers made more mistakes on hot tasks- largely errors on happy face trials
      • Experiment two
        • no significant difference in terms of reaction times
          • both groups highly accurate on go trials
            • low delayers held more false alarms on no go trials- 14.5%
              • low delayers had less activity in the right inferior frontal cortex on the no go trials
                • low delayers had more activity in the ventral striatum- more with happy faces on no go trials
    • Conclusions
      • low delayers at age 4- difficulty resisting happy faces
        • suggests that low self control is consistent within an individual
          • resisting temptations varies by context- dependent on what the 'hot' stimulus is
            • ability to delay gratification depends on cognitive control and the compelling stimulus


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