• Entry
  • Reader's guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject index

Delay of Gratification

Definition

Delay of gratification requires resisting the impulse to take an immediately available reward, in the hopes of obtaining a more valued reward in the future. For example, a person who wakes up feeling tired can make the impulsive choice of going back to sleep or can delay gratification by getting up, making coffee, going to work, and hence feeling productive and alert. The ability to delay gratification is an essential to regulating or controlling oneself.

Background

The dilemma of whether to give in to temptation or to resist in favor of a long-term benefit has plagued humans from the beginning of time. It has been discussed in every major philosophical and religious tradition. Best known to those of Judeo-Christian background is the story of Adam and Eve ...

    • Loading...
    locked icon

    Sign in to access this content

    Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

    • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
    • Read modern, diverse business cases
    • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles