Self-Control? It's Child's Play

By Manier, Jeremy | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, April 1, 2008 | Go to article overview

Self-Control? It's Child's Play


Manier, Jeremy, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Kids everywhere have played Simon Says for generations without the slightest inkling that such games may be preparing them for success in the classroom and the work world.

Psychology researchers say the game is one of many that draw on the crucial capacity to restrain impulses and exert self-control. Until recently, many experts believed that teachers could do little to foster those skills in young children, thinking that kids would either develop the knack over time or require medication such as Ritalin to correct attention disorders.

But new research suggests that ordinary children can benefit from play that gives a mental workout to their faculties of "executive control," as psychologists call it. One study from last November found that preschool-age kids who spent most of their school hours playing games designed to improve self-control scored better than other kids on a range of tests that measure executive function.

Other work has shown that measures of executive control can predict future success in school at least as well as IQ tests, which gauge only a limited range of mental abilities. Improving executive function could be a promising way of getting kids ready for the real world, saysAdele Diamond, a co-author of the study that appeared last November in the journal Science.

Many applications

"You need these kinds of skills in all facets of your life," says Diamond, a professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia.

Scientists believe executive control comes from an area of the brain called the pre-frontal cortex, which underlies much of our ability to make conscious, deliberate choices.

It's also one of the last brain areas to reach maturity in children, and that shows in the often impulsive behavior of young kids. When young children see someone else with a toy they want, they simply take it. When they want food, they grab it. Executive control includes the power to think twice and avoid such missteps.

Many researchers believe another key aspect of executive function is what's called "working memory," the small store of memory that people keep in mind while doing a task such as solving a math problem or spelling a word. Improving working memory also could aid self-control, says Philip David Zelazo, a professor at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Self-Control? It's Child's Play
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.