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Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain$
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Ran Hassin, Kevin Ochsner, and Yaacov Trope

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391381

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391381.001.0001

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From Stimulus Control to Self-Control: Toward an Integrative Understanding of the Processes Underlying Willpower

From Stimulus Control to Self-Control: Toward an Integrative Understanding of the Processes Underlying Willpower

Chapter:
(p.428) CHAPTER 23 From Stimulus Control to Self-Control: Toward an Integrative Understanding of the Processes Underlying Willpower
Source:
Self Control in Society, Mind, and Brain
Author(s):

Ethan Kross

Walter Mischel

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195391381.003.0023

Self-control is fundamental to human survival and success in the modern world. Consequently, a critical challenge is to understand the processes that underlie it. The main goal of this chapter is to address this issue to demystify the self-control construct. The chapter begins with the assumption that to make sense of the psychological processes that enable self-control it is first necessary to understand how they operate within the larger cognitive affective processing system guiding people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors (Mischel & Shoda, 1995, 1998; Shoda & Mischel, 1998). We begin by briefly describing this system and discussing its value for conceptualizing self-control dynamics. Drawing primarily from research on delay of gratification in children (Mischel, Shoda, & Rodriguez, 1989) and recent work that has begun to link this research with findings at the cognitive and neural levels of analysis the chapter then describes the psychological processes that enable people to effectively exert self-control. The second half of the chapter transitions from reviewing prior research on delay of gratification to current work examining how findings revealed from this paradigm generalize to different kinds of situations that require self-control. The chapter concludes by discussing how future research on self-control may benefit from work that bridges different levels of analysis.

Keywords:   self-control, dual processes, reconstrual, personality, psychological distance

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