Self-Control in Animals and People takes an interdisciplinary look at what self-control is, how it works, and whether humans are alone as a species in their ability to demonstrate self-control. The book outlines historical and recent empirical approaches to understanding when self-control succeeds and fails, and which species may share with humans the ability to anticipate better future outcomes. It also provides readers with in-depth explorations of whether various species can delay gratification, the ways in which people and animals exhibit other forms of self-control, what influences the capacity and expression of self-control, and much more.
In addition to its comprehensive coverage of self-control research, the book also describes self-control assessment tests that can be used with young children, adults, and a wide variety of nonhuman species, with the goal of making fair and clear comparisons among the groups. This combination makes Self-Control in Animals and People a valuable resource for cognitive, developmental, and clinical psychologists, philosophers, academic students and researchers in psychology and the social sciences, and animal behaviorists.
- Provides a comprehensive perspective of the evolutionary emergence of self-control across species
- Explores different "kinds" of self-control and their links to one another, and whether self-control can be improved or strengthened
- Offers insight on mental time travel (chronesthesia) and how it relates to self-control
- Demonstrates how to develop self-control tests for human and nonhuman animals, and how to make fair and clear comparisons among those groups
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1. What is Self-Control and What is it Good For? 2. Self-Control and Other Forms of Inhibitory Control 3. Human Intertemporal Choices: Choosing Between Now and Later 4. Intertemporal Choices by Nonhuman Animals 5. Children's Delay of Gratification: How Long Would You Wait for Marshmallows? 6. The Reverse-Reward Task: Why Pointing Away from What You Want is so Difficult for Animals 7. Would Animals Pass a Version of the Marshmallow Test? 8. Other Tests of Self-Control and Delay of Gratification in Animals 9. How Do We Know Whether We Are Measuring Self-Control? Methodological Concerns Lead to a New Test 10. Is Self-Control Like a Muscle? 11. Do Animals Flex Their Own Self-Control "Muscle"? 12. Are Animal Tests of Self-Control All Measuring the Same Thing? 13. Self-Control and Social Settings 14. Mental Time Travel: What Is It, and How Does It Relate to Self-Control? 15. Worth Waiting For: Final Thoughts on Self-Control and the Future of Future-Oriented Research with People and Animals
Michael Beran is an Associate professor of psychology at Georgia State University. He is a cognitive psychologist with 21 years of experience working with nonhuman primates, young children, human adults, and other species such as birds, bears, and elephants. His research on self-control and future-oriented cognition has been supported by grants from the NIH and NSF. He is the editor or co-editor of eight major journals in the fields of comparative and cognitive science, and has published more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles (and more than 250 total publications) on aspects of human and animal cognition, including dozens of papers on self-control.