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Surrounding Self-Control$
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Alfred R. Mele

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197500941

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197500941.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 November 2021

The Developmental and Cultural Origins of Our Beliefs about Self-Control

The Developmental and Cultural Origins of Our Beliefs about Self-Control

(p.47) 3 The Developmental and Cultural Origins of Our Beliefs about Self-Control
Surrounding Self-Control

Adrienne Wente

Xin Zhao

Alison Gopnik

Carissa Kang

Tamar Kushnir

Oxford University Press

Self-control is quite difficult—sometimes people are successful, but frequently they are not. So why do people believe that they can choose, by their own free will, to exercise self-control? This chapter summarizes recent research exploring the cultural and developmental origins of beliefs about self-control and free will. It discusses how two factors contribute to the development of children’s beliefs about self-control: culture and first-person experiences. The authors’ studies of four- to eight-year-old children (N = 441; mean age = 5.96 years; range = 3.92–8.90 years) from China, Singapore, Peru, and the United States indicate that self-control beliefs differ across cultures, and that, comparatively, US children hold intuitions that they can freely choose to exercise self-control. Additionally, evidence indicates that the experience of self-control failure impacts beliefs about free will in US children, but that these experience effects are not culturally universal.

Keywords:   self-control, free will, development, cross-cultural, choice, inhibitory control

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