Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Self-Control In Kids Predicts Future Success

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the stop-figiting dept.

Medicine 245

SpuriousLogic writes "A new study suggests that a child's future success depends on the amount of self-control they exhibit. From the article: 'The international team of researchers looked at 1,037 children in New Zealand born in the early 1970s, observing their levels of self-control at ages 3 and 5. At ages 5, 7, 9 and 11, the team used parent, teacher and the children's own feedback to measure such factors as impulsive aggression, hyperactivity, lack of persistence and inattention. At age 32, they used physical exams, blood tests, records searches and personal interviews of 96% of the original participants to determine how healthy, wealthy and law-abiding the subjects had turned out to be. The results were startling. In the fifth of children with the least self-control, 27% had multiple health problems. Compare that with the fifth of kids with the most self-control — at just 11%. Among the bottom fifth, 32% had an annual income below approximately $15,000, while only 10% of the top fifth fell into that low-income bracket. Just 26% of the top-fifth's offspring were raised in single-parent homes, compared with 58% of those in the bottom fifth. And 43% of the bottom fifth had been convicted of a crime, far outstripping the top fifth's 13% rate.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First post! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015142)

Self control? What's that?

Re:First post! (0)

supertrinko (1396985) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015760)

If ever a first post should be modded funny...

Causation is not Correlia (5, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015162)

"Among the bottom fifth, 32% had an annual income below approximately $15,000, while only 10% of the top fifth fell into that low-income bracket. Just 26% of the top-fifth's offspring were raised in single-parent homes, compared with 58% of those in the bottom fifth."

Well, that may very well be the problem right there. Ditto for the fact that kids with low self control probably came from low-income families, too.

That said, doing martial arts as a kid is a wonderful way to learn self-control, among many other benefits. I'm half convinced it cures ADHD, too, from my personal experience.

Shocking (1, Insightful)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015188)

And you know what? That kid in elementary school that was the first to try smoking? He works in a Walmart now.

Re:Shocking (4, Funny)

siddesu (698447) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015370)

Not really, in my country he runs the second-largest telecom. The second and the third to smoke are government ministers.

/ really.

Re:Shocking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015838)

He also probably is a cocaine dealer.

Re:Shocking (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016084)

No, that would be your brother.

Re:Shocking (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016016)

Bunga Bunga!

Re:Causation is not Correlia (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015250)

That's what I was thinking. Kids with self control problems in school often come from backgrounds where sitting still and having self control isn't valued. But beyond that, of course if they're still having trouble with self control as adults their income is going to suffer, people who can't or won't fit the business world are going to be making less money whether or not it's warranted. Businesses just aren't in the practice of hiring people they don't think fit their business.

Re:Causation is not Correlia (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015266)

What are you talking about? I think it's very clear from the research: kids with little self control clearly caused themselves to grow up in a single-parent home. I mean, how else could you possibly interpret that data?

Re:Causation is not Correlia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015900)

The summary wasn't too clear, but the kids with self control were far more likely to be single parents (they were kids in the 70s) vs those with high levels of self control.

Re:Causation is not Correlia (3, Interesting)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015316)

I haven't RTFA or RTFFP.

Anyway, what I wonder in this case is how much is genetics and how much is environment. Though they don't say anything about anything of it, just how they act as kids.

But for instance genetics may not decide whatever your parents separate or not (or maybe it does if they are more "explosive" characters themselves .. And you get that), but eventually that may affect how you interact with other persons.

Personally I feel pretty fucked up now at the age of 31. I've had a somewhat weird life as kid but I didn't felt weird or remotely as bad back when I was say 20.

Way too little real interaction with other people in my life, work/job/whatever, love, death, sadness make you behave weird. It could had changed and some people could probably had helped but it kinda scares them away because what are they supposed to see in someone such as myself?

Crap :(

Re:Causation is not Correlia (4, Interesting)

Kell Bengal (711123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015526)

I know exactly how you feel. You grow up a product of your environment and you don't really look back until you're 30 and realise what could have been, if things had been different. I certainly grew up in the shadow of potential I was supposed to be meeting, even when I wasn't encouraged at home and being bullied mercilessly. I think it's insane how we expect children to learn and study at school and then send them home to parents who tell them that hard work is dumb. Even with the best genetics in the world, those kids are going to have it tough later in life.

Re:Causation is not Correlia (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015894)

I think the most annoying part is having to then watch other people deal with the same stuff that messed you up. I mean, I have sympathy. But watching people struggle with far less severe deaths when they're in their late 20s as I did when I was five? It's hard to not wonder if these faces are the same as the kids on the playground who wound up shunning me because they felt like death was contagious.

Surprise, children are people too (4, Insightful)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015338)

The same is true for adults, or, if you may, human beings. Big surprise, I don't know why people insist on treating children as retards or something.

Re:Surprise, children are people too (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015532)

Cynical response: it lets the adult feel pride over their lack of parental involvement when the child's natural development causes the parent to feel like a retard.

Re:Causation is not Correlia (5, Insightful)

agm (467017) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015374)

"Among the bottom fifth, 32% had an annual income below approximately $15,000, while only 10% of the top fifth fell into that low-income bracket. Just 26% of the top-fifth's offspring were raised in single-parent homes, compared with 58% of those in the bottom fifth."

Well, that may very well be the problem right there.

It says the study subjects offspring were raised in single parent homes, not that the study subjects themselves were raised in a single parent home.

It also says an annual income of below $15000. Given this was in New Zealand, I doubt very much this is true. $15,000 NZD is not much at all. Perhaps they converted it to some other currency?

Re:Causation is not Correlia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015522)

"Among the bottom fifth, 32% had an annual income below approximately $15,000, while only 10% of the top fifth fell into that low-income bracket. Just 26% of the top-fifth's offspring were raised in single-parent homes, compared with 58% of those in the bottom fifth."

Well, that may very well be the problem right there.

It says the study subjects offspring were raised in single parent homes, not that the study subjects themselves were raised in a single parent home.

It also says an annual income of below $15000. Given this was in New Zealand, I doubt very much this is true. $15,000 NZD is not much at all. Perhaps they converted it to some other currency?

That probably means they're on the dole.

Re:Causation is not Correlia (3, Informative)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016214)

If you read the research article (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/01/20/1010076108) - [note: open access, so you can download the pdf or read the full text online] - the researchers state the annual income was 20,000 NZD, which is roughly 15,000 USD ("For example, by adulthood, the highest and lowest fifths of the population on measured childhood self- control had respective rates of multiple health problems of 11% vs. 27%, rates of polysubstance dependence of 3% vs. 10%, rates of annual income under NZ $20,000 of 10% vs. 32%, rates of offspring reared in single-parent households of 26% vs. 58%, and crime conviction rates of 13% vs. 43%.") So yes, it was converted for an American audience.

Re:Causation is not Correlia (2)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015414)

I suppose that the very moment a punch is about to strike would be a lousy time to suffer loss of concentration.
                    I suspect that not only do the low testing subjects suffer from social and psychological problems but many probably carry very hard to diagnose medical problems as well. And being that they may reflect their parents status it is likely that the money needed for good medical care was never available to them from birth onward. It is just another proof that socialized medicine is not optional but something that must happen to improve our society.

Re:Causation is not Correlia (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016288)

socialized medicine is not optional

It's New Zealand. They already have that. Try again. Here's a better answer for you:

Some people are just bad protoplasm. Ask a doctor or nurse (or anyone else who sees everyone in society, from top to bottom - but I can't think of another field that does) about it. If your genes are bad, nothing about you will work right: you'll be dumb, you'll be ugly, you'll be unhealthy. By contrast, good looks, good health, and good intelligence tend to go together, because people who have good genetics will express all the right genes at the right time during development and end up symmetrical and well-wired (barring some freak accident).

Re:Causation is not Correlia (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015430)

As someone who had martial arts forced on him as a kid -- because apparently I couldn't be allowed to make my own decisions -- let me say that I hated it. Even at a very young age I realized that boxing was a far more practical and effective discipline.

About the only thing I liked about it was some of the other kids I met. Amusingly, it was a diminutive 14 y/o girl who was the fiercest and most naturally skilled fighter I've met to this day. Kids who didn't know her were terrified, and the adults were all humble towards her (more like awed, literally). Sadly she fell victim to some debilitating disease and died not long after. It felt like Jesus had died... utterly incomprehensible (if you believe in that mystic crap, that is).

Re:Causation is not Correlia (3, Interesting)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016098)

Even at a very young age I realized that boxing was a far more practical and effective discipline.

It seems to me that the "effectiveness" of any martial art has everything to do with the particular instructor's point of view. Some emphasize the "martial" more than the "art", and vice versa. The most striking example of this for me was a fencing class I took years ago where the instructor devoted half of each class to what was basically dirty street fighting with a rapier. Useless in a practical sense, and entirely contrary to the spirit of the sport, but it was exactly as much fun as it sounds.

Re:Causation is not Correlia (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016136)

>>As someone who had martial arts forced on him as a kid

Well, that's the problem. Kids that don't want to be in martial arts are often the worst students in the class, anyway, and can disrupt the entire atmosphere of a school.

You can't punish them by sitting out of a class, because, well, they don't want to be there, and their parents are just using martial arts as an afterschool babysitting program.

That said, for kids that do want to be there, but have behavioral or attention problems, martial arts is great. It's amazing how much hyperactivity vanishes when you make them duck walk around the mat a few times.

Re:Causation is not Correlia (2)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015466)

Never mind that, the things they call success are those things that self-control plays a central role in: following the law, and being financially and healthfully well-off. Up next, they found that kids who breathed oxygen had a much higher survival rate into adulthood than kids who breathed argon.

As someone who's studied and taugh (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015482)

That said, doing martial arts as a kid is a wonderful way to learn self-control, among many other benefits.

So does "doing" musical instruments.

Any sport, for that matter.

And any activity that requires concentration and diligence.

I've studied martial arts for quite a few years and taught a little too. The benefits are no better than the above and actually playing sports that use a ball will give a kid "ball sense" - the ability to predict where it's going from looking at it.

Studying music will also give the kid the same mental preperation and more dextarity than martial arts. Martial arts will not make one better at other sports than if one didn't do them.

As far as combat skills: I worked with "jocks" who came off the street with no previous martial arts experience and beat black-belts.

The skills from martial arts are overrated and there's nothing like after several years of practice to walk into your orthopedist and finding him shopping for an airplane while you're hobbling over to his desk. And then there's the dentist for your TMJ.

I don't care how good you become (I was .very good, others will land hits on you.

Re:As someone who's studied and taugh (2)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016152)

So does "doing" musical instruments.

Any sport, for that matter.

I've done sports, played instruments (the violin, which isn't especially easy), and done martial arts. While you might incidentally learn concentration and discipline from sports and music, in martial arts it is taught explicitly.

Well, your mileage will vary, of course, but my instructor in TKD would spend a significant amount of time with students cultivating their character and self-control.

>>I don't care how good you become (I was .very good, others will land hits on you.

Learn to dodge. Pain is a great teacher. =)

The article never said otherwise (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015540)

The "causation is not correlation" refrain doesn't really apply here. The article claims that self-control predicts success, not that it causes it. The study seems pretty solid, and it's conclusion is believable. Unfortunately, it would be very difficult to determine whether self-control leads to success versus "unknown factor X" leading to both self-control and success. To do that would require you to take a large sample of children, and teach self-control to some who don't have it, while also breaking the self-control of some of those who do. Not the sort of study a parent will sign their kid up for.

The point is that self-control is good, and trying to instill it in a child is likely (but not guaranteed) to help them in life.

Also, I think you're misunderstanding the summary. It's not saying that the kids with poor self-control had low income or single-parent homes growing up, it's saying that kids with poor self-control are likely to grow into adults with low income and broken homes. The fact that lack of self-control can lead to divorce should surprise no one.

Re:The article never said otherwise (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016172)

>>It's not saying that the kids with poor self-control had low income or single-parent homes growing up, it's saying that kids with poor self-control are likely to grow into adults with low income and broken homes

Given that these sorts of issues are often hereditary (nature or nurture), I wouldn't be surprised if they came more often from single households or low income families as well.

>>The article claims that self-control predicts success, not that it causes it.

Sure, but self-control could be an irrelevant mechanism for what is going on, and simply correlated both with True Cause X (let's say Low Income) and Bad Outcome Y (growing up into a Low Income Household)

Re:Causation is not Correlia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015836)

I had plenty of self control and restraint as a kid. I'm still a failure by even most lenient standards. 33, unemployed for most of my life and leaving home for only two years.

Re:Causation is not Correlia (3, Interesting)

dogmatixpsych (786818) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016258)

The researchers controlled for childhood income (socioeconomic status {SES}) and IQ. The low self control kids were more likely than high self control kids to become single parents (58% versus 26%) and have very low income (32% versus 10%). Yes, the low self control kids were more likely to be brought up in low SES homes and were more likely to have lower IQs but the researchers controlled for that in all analyses: "Dunedin study children with greater self-control were more likely to have been brought up in socioeconomically advantaged families (r = 0.25, P
Anyway, the regression coefficients for the study are generally quite modest, but it's an interesting finding (one that's been replicated many times, actually). I would like to have seen better statistical analyses though (some multi-level modeling would have been more elegant).

Self Control In Kids ... (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015186)

Self control in kids will eventually lead to self control as adults? This can predict future success ... as in success in staying out of prison.

Translation: Fat people have poor health (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015194)

Or, in other words, fat people are in poor health.

Amazing.

Shocking (1)

stevie.f (1106777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015200)

Those with enough self control to not eat badly all the time and to exercise regularly are healthier. Those with enough self control to apply themselves to their schoolwork before playing are more successful. I would never have guessed.

Re:Shocking (4, Interesting)

flink (18449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015272)

Well, the shocking thing is how early the amount of self control one has appears to be "set". Most of us have little to no awareness and certainly no control of how we are raised before we are 3, yet it appears that a major facility that determines how successful we will be for the rest of our lives is already well established by this age.

Re:Shocking (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015464)

Those with enough self control to not eat badly all the time and to exercise regularly are healthier. Those with enough self control to apply themselves to their schoolwork before playing are more successful. I would never have guessed.

You have an answer, don't you? What do you make of it?

Re:Shocking (0)

aliquis (678370) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015578)

Those with enough self control to not pull out their penis for a masturbation frenzy and/or rubbing against her as soon as they spot a chick got a better chance of dating her?! :D

(Personally I obviously have no idea. ... I'm just going on, guessing and creating my own theories. ... Plus I've never get to date a girl so I don't know which version works ;D)

If that were true... (1)

zerointeger (1587877) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015204)

Then that chef Ramsey dude wouldn't be richer then dirt. /fail

Re:If that were true... (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015356)

Then that chef Ramsey dude wouldn't be richer then dirt. /fail

Yeah, buddy, go ahead and, possibly, abuse everybody the way Ramsey does. Should be a behavior required for being successful - my manager seems to think so as well.
Just let aside the pesky control on yourself and, for God's sake, don't take any time to think what Ramsey actually controlled in himself to acquire his kitchen management skills; this is a too deep detail, can't be important if it is non-obvious.

Re:If that were true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015432)

Richer than dirt? Isn't the idiom 'poorer than dirt'?

Re:If that were true... (1)

germansausage (682057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016120)

Richer than dirt - not exactly raising the bar very high now are we?

Re:If that were true... (1)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015592)

I've always read Ramsay as being remarkably self-controlled in his own way. He only screams at people who make mistakes--he's an extreme perfectionist. He thinks it ultimately helps them to hear the truth and lets his anger out at them simultaneously. He also keeps a pretty good clamp on his emotions on some talk shows I've seen (when the host is making food with him and they're just awful in comparison), which is evidently difficult for him.

Also, the correlation is not 1. That is, a self-controlled kid could still end up in a minimum-wage job in their 40's.

TED - Marshmallow Experiment (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015228)

http://www.ted.com/talks/joachim_de_posada_says_don_t_eat_the_marshmallow_yet.html

MOD PARENT UP! (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015302)

Aha - beat me to it. This vid is cute as shit and pretty interesting - further supporting the theory in OP

Re:TED - Marshmallow Experiment (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015446)

Please mod +Informative the AC parent - well worth it.

Candy test (1)

lulalala (1359891) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015236)

I've heard a similar small test before. I remember it goes like this: give the kids a candy each, then tell them if they can keep it for another hour, they get to get a second one. I am sure I would keep it, since I don't like candies.

Looks familiar (1, Informative)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015262)

Re:Looks familiar (1)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015308)

I was unaware of the previous link, but was thinking the same thing:

The Tiger Mom and this study seem to be measuring/preaching whether children are taught to value and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment from long-term goals ("delayed gratification") rather than being taught self-control or self-discipline.

Re:Looks familiar (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015658)

What is interesting to me is the contortions the kids go through while they resist. I wonder if it's possible to try that with kids strapped into an fMRI and see what exactly is going on in there that makes "wait 15 minutes" require so much physical activity.

Don't Eat the Marshmallow... Yet! (related) (4, Interesting)

eepok (545733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015306)

http://www.ted.com/talks/joachim_de_posada_says_don_t_eat_the_marshmallow_yet.html/ [ted.com]

In this short talk from TED U, Joachim de Posada shares a landmark experiment on delayed gratification -- and how it can predict future success. With priceless video of kids trying their hardest not to eat the marshmallow.

Character (3, Insightful)

fwarren (579763) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015310)

Or maybe character matters?

Metabolism also linked to success (2, Interesting)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015334)

I take it that a "good" metabolism is a fast metabolism, according to this study? A fast metabolism is not good to have in a famine. It's only "good" to have in our current environment of plentiful food. It would make sense that if you don't have enough self control to stockpile some food reserves (or something that can be traded for food) in preparation for such a time, your body had better do it for you by making you a lazy fatass.

Re:Metabolism also linked to success (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016018)

I call bullshit. Someone with a fast metabolism is going to have a lot easier time chasing down prey (and running from predators) than someone who takes two days to digest a single Twinkie.

Re:Metabolism also linked to success (3, Insightful)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016056)

I call bullshit. Someone with a fast metabolism is going to have a lot easier time chasing down prey (and running from predators) than someone who takes two days to digest a single Twinkie.

Then why are there so many of us with famine-ready metabolisms walking around?

By the way, I just love eating 1700 calories a day and doing an hour of p90x just to keep from gaining 5 pounds a week. Thanks famine-survival-specialist ancestors!

Re:Metabolism also linked to success (2)

epine (68316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016154)

In an expanding population, low birth age is an advantage. More generations: more tau growth multiples. In a declining population, delayed birth age is an advantage: fewer tau shrinkage multiples. Not for a long time has the western world experienced a consistently declining population due to high mortality (rather than family planning). We forget the other sweep of the pendulum.

A sunny day metabolism is not necessarily optimal for a rainy day. Clearly starvation has been a problem in the history of the human species, because it's awfully easy to tip into porker mode.

It could even be that our genetic program interprets indolence combined with high food intake as "pending baby explosion" and plans accordingly. In old school population dynamics, the best predictor of bust was boom. The same group of people lauded in this study for self-control under different conditions could be the group who starved to death waiting for social chaos to play itself out.

Unfortunately, mother nature didn't comment the code, so it can difficult to distinguish a bug from a feature.

// MoNa 332BC - coefficient of porkerhood boosted 10%
// MoNa 145BC - coefficient of porkerhood boosted another 10%

Besides, those dates make no sense. We all know that MoNa would have written that date somewhere in the six thousand millennium block, though some dim bulbs have construed the four digit date stamp in years.

1037 children (5, Funny)

Coppit (2441) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015402)

The international team of researchers looked at 1,037 children in New Zealand born in the early 1970s, observing their levels of self-control at ages 3 and 5.

The researchers had a very strong temptation to find another 300 children to study, but being successful scientists were able to exhibit self-control.

Re:1037 children (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016074)

Oh crud. I just read an article that Jamaicans and Singaporeans are number 2 and number 3 as far as coolest nationalities go. I thought, "Hell, I'm both. I must be pretty cool." Then I read your post and got the joke. I'm obviously a dork. *sigh*

Stupid correlation studies (0)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015440)

My my, that's a lot of apparent correlations there without a single causation.

Re:Stupid correlation studies (2)

FrootLoops (1817694) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015518)

Amina Khan, the linked article's author, seems to have lifted those correlation numbers from the study. Suggesting the study didn't deal with causation is itself fallacious unless you've read the study and found the same problem. It's really unsurprising that a journalist reports statistics poorly, but saying the study itself is bad because of that is just cynically wrong.

Re:Stupid correlation studies (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015586)

I don't get why so many people on Slashdot like to harp on this. How exactly do you expect them to prove causation in a sociological study? Correlation is all they can show, and correlation can be interesting. And since they used the word "predicts" instead of "leads to", they can't even be accused of conflating the two.

Re:Stupid correlation studies (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016166)

It's a lot easier to chant "correlation doesn't mean causation" than actually think critically.

Re:Stupid correlation studies (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016280)

They harp on it, because it helps them to believe that they are superior. Other fun phrases are "liberty", "liberal", "personal freedom", "freedom of speech", and "libertarian". There are obviously more.

They don't know how to interpret data.

Re:Stupid correlation studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015632)

I couldn't find the original article so I can't be sure, but I don't think you can conclude that a correlational study can't tell you anything about causation. Ok - self control, earnings etc could co-vary with something else that wasn't studied, but being convicted of a criminal offense (for example) couldn't reasonably cause you to have low self-control.

What I'm surprised at is that 43% of the "bottom 5th" and 13% of the "top fifth" were convicted criminals - doesn't that seem a bit high?

Re:Stupid correlation studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015796)

Kill yourself, aspie.

Baffling -- where did my story submission go? (1)

Alaska Jack (679307) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015442)

Could someone take a sec and explain to me how this system works? I submitted this earlier today:

http://slashdot.org/submission/1455260/EPA-Broken-CFL-Bulb-Better-read-this#comments [slashdot.org]

Now it's nowhere to be seen on the "recent" page. It just seems to have evaporated.

To make matters worse, I can't see anywhere in the FAQ where this is explained.

    - aj

Self control == Intelligence (3, Informative)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015460)

I can't comment on the study because I couldn't find a link to it in the linked article (wtf?).

One of the definitions of intelligence is the ability to put off an immediate reward for a long term benefit. Children are presented with a jelly bean and told "if you can wait until [the researcher] get back, you'll get 3 jelly beans", and then the researcher leaves.

Kids who can put off temptation the longest tend to score highest in IQ tests.

For example, smokers could give up smoking for 3 months and use the money to pay for a high-def TV. This never happens in practice, because of their inability to put off the immediate pleasure in order to get the long-term reward.

BTW, the links on Slashdot have no underlines? With no decoration, you have to mouse around the text in order to see if a link was included in the article.

Re:Self control == Intelligence (1)

zes (1544775) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015498)

There is a colour difference on the links though, but maybe too slim for some monitors.

Re:Self control == Intelligence (4, Insightful)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015584)

Self control is only part of intelligence if you expand the definition to include it. In my opinion we use the word "intelligence" as too much of a blanket term encompassing all the elements of success.

The truth of the matter is that someone who processes and retains information with the bottom 20% of the population but has the self control to do the extra work required for them to get the grades and/or do good work at, whatever their profession is, is very likely to be more successful than their peers.

Most of the 4.0 students(with engineering or noble science majors) I knew in college never left their rooms on weeknights. I realized a few years ago that they weren't necessarily smarter, some of them quite frankly seemed kind of dim, what they had was work ethic and a realistic assessment of how much time they had to put in to make the grades. And that is far more important than an IQ test.

Re:Self control == Intelligence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015602)

http://dunedinstudy.otago.ac.nz/news/children-with-more-self-control-turn-into-healthier-and-wealthier-adults

Link to original study (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015650)

"A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety": http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/01/20/1010076108

Thanks for the responses (and fish) (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015772)

I can't read *any* of the responses to my post for some reason, but I can see the 1st line and so can get a feel for what's being said.

Intelligence is not well defined, both in common usage and in the fields of psychology and (my field) AI. I agree that there are more aspects which contribute to an overall sense of intelligence.

One of the failings of AI in my mind is the lack of a good definition of intelligence.

As a mathematician, I know what a manifold is, can tell whether something is one, and can construct one to use as an example.

As an AI researcher... nada. There is no consensus in the field as to what intelligence actually *is*. The closest we have is the Turing test, which is not a definition and conflates intelligence with "human intelligence" and "communication".

(So for my own researches I first had to come up with a workable definition, which makes me an outlier in the field.)

Thanks for the PNAS link. I'll read it once more bugs have been squashed in the comment system.

Sample size (0)

scurvyj (1158787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015472)

Really beginning to think that sample sizes around the 1000 mark are far too small for *any* study's results to be statistically valid anymore, in this modern age.

There are so many interconnected traits now.

Re:Sample size (2)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015536)

Huh? Whut? The number of traits is irrelevant when correlating two specific traits. The only argument you can make is that there isn't a causal relationship. 1,000 is MORE than enough to show correlation, especially when the variations between groups is so high.

Re:Sample size (1)

Chmcginn (201645) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015792)

The only argument you can make is that there isn't a causal relationship.

Or that the sampling wasn't properly randomized.

law-abiding? (0)

godless dave (844089) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015488)

How is "law-abiding" a measure of success?

Re:law-abiding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015550)

How is "law-abiding" a measure of success?

Judging from our corporate overlords, it is not.

Re:law-abiding? (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016024)

It means you're less likely to end up in prison. Hard to be successful (using any meaningful definition of the term) while locked up behind bars.

not getting caught (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016128)

You can't measure 'law-abiding'. All you can do is measure 'not getting caught' and assume.

I can't even guess at how many years I'd be facing, yet I've never been arrested.

Domestication? (2)

zes (1544775) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015524)

Am I the only one thinking that all they are saying is that the animal Homo Sapien Sapien is easier to domesticarte if you do it early? Surely this is the case with most species?

Old and Bad study (1, Interesting)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015538)

Been dismissed multiple times before by real scientists. The problems with the study was: a. They determined success and defined control in the year 2000, not 1970.

Note the dates, kids from the 1970s, at kids age 3-11 measured success when the kids were 32. I.E. Math says the study ended in 2000.

No, your fate is NOT predestined by the time you are 11.

Re:Old and Bad study (2)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015686)

That's not what "Honors" programs in US schools have been telling us...

Re:Old and Bad study (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015924)

Been dismissed multiple times before by real scientists.

[citation needed]

Re:Old and Bad study (5, Informative)

QuestionsNotAnswers (723120) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015956)

You are talking complete bollocks.
 
This particular study is a sub-study of one of the most complete longitudinal studies [otago.ac.nz] of its kind and it is still continuing [otago.ac.nz] . It is run by real scientists, some of whom have made it their life work.

Parents! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015572)

Please beat your children.

Re:Parents! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016126)

Darn it, where are my mod points?

This just in... (0)

thenewt (1974712) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015718)

A new study shows correlation between a few isolated test parameters and a few isolated end results! Well done, behavioral science, for ignoring the fascinatingly complex interpersonal, existential web that is human life!

This just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015780)

Water is wet. News at 11.

Link to the Paper (5, Informative)

BlackSupra (742450) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015802)

Link to the paper "A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety" by Terrie E. Moffitt, Et Al.

The Abstract : http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/01/20/1010076108 [pnas.org]

The PDF Paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/01/20/1010076108.full.pdf+html [pnas.org]

The Journal Snippit: http://www.pnas.org/site/misc/highlights.shtml#control [pnas.org]

Though policy-makers have considered programs to enhance the nation’s health, wealth, and safety through interventions to improve children’s self-control skills, researchers had not previously shown that childhood self-control actually influences adult outcomes in large populations. Terrie Moffitt et al. analyzed assessments of more than 1,000 participants in the Dunedin, New Zealand Longitudinal Study who were followed from birth to age 32. Even after accounting for differences in social status and IQ, the researchers found that children as young as 3 who scored highly on measures of self-control were less likely than lower-scoring children to develop common physical health problems, abuse drugs, experience financial difficulties, raise a child in a single-parent household, or be convicted of a crime as adults. In a second sample of 500 nonidentical British twins, the sibling who scored lowest in measures of self-control at age 5 was more likely than the other twin to begin smoking, perform poorly in school, and engage in antisocial behaviors at age 12, the authors report. Children whose self-control improved during the study fared better as adults in measures of health, wealth, and criminal history than was otherwise predicted by their initial childhood scores. The results suggest that even small improvements in individuals’ self-control could improve the health, wealth, and safety of large populations, according to the authors. — J.M.

tour de force of scientific ingenuity. Bravo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35015812)

Good kids turned out to be good adults.
Who would have thunked it?

Old news (1)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015910)

The results were startling.

Unless you have even the most basic knowledge of the subject. In which case it's additional verification of previous studies. What's next slashdot, amazed gasps about this new thing called fire. And how it's apparently baffling scientists?

Is real science from Dunedin Longitudinal Study (3, Informative)

QuestionsNotAnswers (723120) | more than 3 years ago | (#35015912)

Here is an interview about this in particular (not sure if available outside NZ!): http://www.radiolive.co.nz/Children-with-more-self-control-turn-into-healthier-and-wealthier-adults/tabid/506/articleID/18253/Default.aspx [radiolive.co.nz] or google http://www.google.com/search?q=Dunedin+Longitudinal+Study [google.com] for background information.

It is a very rigourous study that has been going for nearly 40 years (now on phase 38), producing 900 papers, and a superb data set because they still have an amazing 96% of the original sample set (now aged about 40) getting regularly tested. They go to extreme lengths to continue keeping the original people coming back - e.g. organising flights for all the people that have elsewhere including a large number that are spread around the world.

Definitely not causation. (2, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016028)

Lack of self control certainly does not prevent success:

  • Bill Clinton
  • Richard Nixon
  • John F Kennedy
  • Robert Downey Jr
  • Charlie Sheen

List could continue for a very long time.

Re:Definitely not causation. (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016182)

You, sir, fail at statistics:

You hand-picked a few people out of the whole of the US population, and try to deduct some statistically relevant conclusions based on this. Unless you have some millions more people to add to this list, this proves exactly nothing.

Note that even the highest likelyhood in the summary was below 50%.

Re:Definitely not causation. (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016184)

Nixon, Clinton, and Kennedy definitely had tremendous self control; if you look over their lives they were each working on a long-term plan to obtain the presidency. The fact that once they reached the goal they let themselves do what they want doesn't mean they lack self control, but rather once they had achieved their goal, why not enjoy the power it brought.

This is OLD NEWS (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016050)

Some years ago there was a book entitled "Emotional Intelligence" which reached a
conclusion that ability to decide to delay gratification was instrumental to a person's
success in later life.

None of this is new.

But it's a slow news day so Slashdot editors ( who wouldn't last a month in the real world
of publishing ) act like this is newsworthy.

Confusing self-control for intelligence? (2)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35016160)

If you believe "The Bell Curve", which I do, IQ selects for all of the positive attributes listed in the article. What's the correlation between IQ and self-control? And why is it ignored?

I learned self control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016190)

I learned self control during my younger days the old fashion way. When I ever got out of control, I got an ass whipping with my father's belt. He was expert in aim, even when I was fleeing around the room. He was nice enough to give me a warning by threateningly unbuckling it first and then pulling it out if I continued misbehaving.

balls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35016282)

surely when a child is better able to sit still etc, it isn't self control its obedience

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?