Deferred gratification

Deferred Gratification

Deferred gratification

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Deferred gratification and delayed gratification denote a person’s ability to wait in order to obtain something that he or she wants. This intellectual attribute is also called impulse control, will power, self control, and “low” time preference, in economics. Sociologically, good impulse control is considered a positive personality trait, which psychologist Daniel Goleman indicated as an important component trait of emotional intelligence. Moreover, people who lack the psychological trait of being able to delay gratification are said to require instant gratification and might suffer poor impulse control. The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment (1972) indicates that good impulse control might be psychologically important for academic achievement and for success in adult life. Research also indicates that animals do not defer gratification, but instead apply hyperbolic discounting, so, the intellectual problem of delayed gratification is philosophically fundamental to human nature.


The psychoanalytic term impulse control derives from the Freudian psychology theory of personality (Id, Ego, Super-ego), wherein, the id is the pleasure principle, the ego is the reality principle, and the super-ego is the morality principle. The purpose of the ego is to satisfy the needs of the Id, whilst respecting the needs of other people. Accordingly, a person who is unable to delay gratification might possess an imbalanced psychic apparatus wherein...
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