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Romer, Duckworth, Sznitman, and Park (2010) enlighten the audience of the most recent findings in the field of Neuroscience. Thus, the development suggests that the brain of a teenager is too immature to manage certain impulsive desires. For example, the adolescent brain is unable to manage sensation seeking, which has been shown to rise with age. The claim was made while considering the impact of discounting delayed reward. As a result, the study probed into the matter by studying the ability to delay pleasure, which was suspected to be a potential source of the risk-taking inclination, which was discovered to be on the rise among adolescents. Moreover, the authors highlight in the article the importance of experience stemming from risk-taking not limited to the future time perspectives that are influential to the developmental abilities.
The hypotheses according to Romer, Duckworth, Sznitman, and Park (2010) were formed basing opinions on the essence of the adolescents to taking the risk as well as the effect of delayed gratification in relation to sensation seeking, the effect of delayed gratification, the future time perspectives and finally the use of drugs. Therefore, five hypotheses have been reported by the authors to have been at the center of the test. The hypotheses included firstly, whether the individual differences in the ability to delay gratification had an inverse relationship with the adolescent's risk-taking. The second hypothesis concerned whether there could be an inverse relation in regards to brain maturity and taking risks as well as delay gratification. The third hypothesis concerned whether there were individual differences in respect to future time perspective that the researchers expected to have a positive relationship with the ability to delay gratification yet not having a direct influence on taking the –risk. The fourth hypothesis that was tested focused on whether the ability to delay gratification serves as a mechanism of self–control which the researchers expected to restrain risk-taking among adolescents seeking for high sensations. The fifth hypothesis looked into was the whether there existed relationship between experience and taking the risk with respect to delay gratification.
The aforementioned hypotheses were tested on nine hundred respondents aged between 14 to 22 years. Romer, Duckworth, Sznitman, and Park (2010) informs their target audience that respondent’s data was taken from a survey of the youth through the courtesy of the national probability sampling that is often performed by the Adolescent Communication Institute situated at the University of Pennsylvania.
The variables that the authors report to have been accounted for were both dependent and independent. The dependent variables included demographic factors. For example, the variables of concern for the successful completion of the research encompassed demographic constituents such as age differences, race, social status, and gender. On the other hand, the independent variable include
In regards to the measurements of the independent variable, the monetary choice procedure was adopted as a necessary measure for delay of gratification. It had been used elsewhere among the youth hence was appropriate for assessing the preference for the effects of delayed reward among adolescents. In measuring the future time perspective, was measured using the time perspective questionnaire where points were rated on a scale of 1 to 4.Sensatrional seeking was also measured on a four-point scale in which four dimensions were taken into account. Finally, risk-taking such as the use of drugs were measured in correspondence to the indicators of risk-taking tendencies.
The outcomes of the study included the realization that the use of some drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana had an inverse relation with the ability to delay gratification. The relationship was so strong such that it incorporated the perspective of gender, age and the varying levels of high sensation seeking adolescents. Nonetheless, engaging in risky behaviors equipped the adolescents with opportunities to develop patience for long-term rewards.
Romer, D., Duckworth, A. L., Sznitman, S., & Park, S. (2010). Can adolescents learn self-control? Delay of gratification in the development of control over risk taking. Prevention Science, 11(3), 319-330.
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