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Self-Control || In children vs. adults

Self control should increase with age due to the development of the sensory system. As the sensory system develops, people's perceptual abilities expand. For instance, children do not have a concept of time, and in this sense, they live in the present. However, as children age and develop into adults, they gradually gain the ability to comprehend the future consequences of their actions. Alexandra Logue argues that there are two key aspects of perceptual ability that develop with age. First, the ability to estimate time allows people to make decisions based not only on immediate outcomes, but on future outcomes too. Second, the ability to direct attention away from certain events permits people to evaluate the situation at hand more thoroughly, and ultimately to make better decisions. These two perceptual abilities - the ability to estimate time and the ability to direct attention away from events - can explain why (clinically healthy) adults have more self-control than children.

In support of her argument, Logue cites several studies on the relationship between children's age and self-control that support the hypothesis that self-control in children increases with age. Essentially, growing children begin to understand the benefits in delaying certain behaviour and outcomes (i.e. "delay of gratification"). They also learn to weigh the consequences of various decision options; "they learn it is not always advantageous to wait for the more preferred outcome".


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