Developing self-control in preschool children through correspondence training

Paul Karoly, Martha J. Dirks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Twelve inner-city preschool children experienced one of two training procedures designed to establish correspondence between their verbalizations about behavioral self-control and execution of a self-control task. The children played the Scarecrow Game which involved the prolonged extension of their arms at their sides. The game is an analog of a "tolerance" type self-control situation. Group 1 experienced a saying (intention) then doing sequence. Group 2 was trained via a doing then saying (reporting) sequence. The experiment was conducted in three phases over 22 days. Both groups showed an increase over baseline in verbalization and play with the game, although reinforcement of verbalization alone did not produce an increase in self-control activity. A significant increase in correspondence did occur in both groups when a snack was delivered contingent upon the matching of verbal report to actual performance. In addition, the level of correspondence exhibited by the say-do group exceeded that of the do-say group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-405
Number of pages8
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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