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YPIE Scientist: Elizabeth O.



Research: Delayed Gratification and Levels of Income


Mentor: Lauren Southwick


Research Location: University of Pennsylvania


Abstract:

Delayed gratification (DG) is the ability and patience to hold off on receiving a short-term reward for a greater longer-term reward. Numerous studies have found that children who have the ability to delay gratification are known to do better in life. They deal with fewer substance abuse issues, exhibit better behavior in school, and have better social skills. This study aims to replicate some of the past experiments done on the connection between delayed gratification and income levels. The purpose of this research is to determine whether or not a person's upbringing influences their ability to delay gratification. In this study, 57 participants took a survey. The survey contained the validated Delayed Gratification Inventory scale (Hoerger, 2016). In addition, 8 questions were asked about income. It was found that there was a slightly negative correlation between levels of income and DG scores. The lowest income group (annual income 0-$30,000) had the highest total DG score of 138.7, while the middle class ($60-80,000) had the lowest DG score of 128.8. The results showed that the low income class had higher delayed gratification than the other groups. While statistically inconclusive, these findings imply that maybe there was some bias during previous DG studies, and there should be updated studies on the previous experiments.



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