Self-Control in Animals and People - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128125083

Self-Control in Animals and People

1st Edition

Authors: Michael Beran
Paperback ISBN: 9780128125083
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 22nd August 2018
Page Count: 332
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Self-Control in Animals and People takes an interdisciplinary look at self-control, how it works, and if humans are alone in their ability to exercise self-control. The book outlines the historical and recent approaches to learning when self-control succeeds and fails, also discussing which species share the ability to anticipate future outcomes. Readers will find an in-depth exploration on delaying gratification, the ways in which people and animals exhibit self-control, and what influences the capacity and expression of self-control. In addition, the book covers self-control research and outlines how to create fair tests for determining self-control in non-human animals.

Key Features

  • Presents an integrative look at the ways in which people and animals exhibit self-control
  • Provides a comprehensive perspective of the evolutionary emergence of self-control across species
  • Explores whether self-control can be improved or strengthened
  • Studies different kinds of self-control and their links to one another
  • Includes insights on mental time travel (chromesthesia) and how it relates to self-control
  • Demonstrates how to develop self-control tests for human and non-human animals, and how to make fair and clear comparisons among those groups


Academic researchers in psychology and social sciences (including behavioral economists and philosophers); cognitive and clinical psychologists; graduate students in psychology courses; animal behaviorists

Table of Contents

  1. What is Self-Control and What is it Good For?
    2. Varieties of Self-Control
    3. Human Intertemporal Choices: Choosing Between Now and Later
    4. Intertemporal Choices by Nonhuman Animals
    5. How Do We Know Whether We Are Measuring Self-Control?: Methodological Considerations and Concerns
    6. Children's Self-Control: How Long Would You Wait for Marshmallows?
    7. Waiting for Other Things Too: Different Tests of Self-Control and Delay of Gratification in Children
    8. Can Animals Delay Gratification?
    9. Creating Fair Tests of Self-Control for Animals and How They Do on Those Tests
    10. Is Human Self-Control Like a Muscle?
    11. Do Animals Flex Their Own Self-Control "Muscle"?
    12. Mental Time Travel: What Is It and How Does It Relate to Self-Control?
    13. Worth Waiting For: Final Thoughts on Self-Control and the Future of Research with People and Animals


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© Academic Press 2018
Academic Press
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About the Author

Michael Beran

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.

Affiliations and Expertise

Georgia State University, GA, USA

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