View Full Version : Correlation between ability to delay gratification and white matter brain connections

05-06-15, 20:10
This is the link to the article:

"This study provides the first evidence in primates, including humans, of an association between delay of gratification performance and white matter connectivity between the caudate and the dorsal prefrontal cortex in the right hemisphere."

""Delay of gratification or self-control is core to a number of different types of mental illnesses, most notably ADHD (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder)," said Latzman. "This ability and the developmental process that occurs when children learn to delay gratification and inhibit an immediate want for a longer-term goal is a hugely important developmental milestone."

It reminded me of the discussions we had about what kind of brain functioning is optimal in hunter-gatherer societies versus farmer societies.

06-06-15, 03:51
The task used to measure delay of gratification in chimpanzees in this study is a parallel task to that used in a series of famous experiments conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s. Preschoolers were placed alone in a room furnished with a small desk and on the desk were two marshmallows and a bell. The researcher told the child he had to leave the room, but when he returned, the child could eat both marshmallows. If the child wanted to eat one marshmallow before the researcher returned, the child could ring the bell and eat one, but not both. When the researcher shut the door, some children ate the marshmallow right away and others tried to distract themselves, according to The New York Times.
In follow-up studies, Mischel found that delay of gratification abilities at age 4 can predict a number of behaviors into adolescence and adulthood, including planning and reasoning abilities, control of negative emotions, standardized test scores, higher educational attainment, better coping abilities, fewer interpersonal difficulties, less substance use and higher self-esteem and self-worth more than 20 years later, according to Latzman.

I think this trait, though exists in all humans, is "hyper active" in farmers/herders.