Angela Lee Duckworth is a full-time, tenure-track Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her long-term career goal is to establish an interdisciplinary research program on self-control and other capacities that determine economic, social, and health outcomes across the life course. Dr. Duckworth seeks the support of a Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (K01) to develop skills and knowledge in two areas in which she has no formal training: economics and aging. It is well-established that cognitive ability (i.e., intelligence) is a powerful determinant of mortality, years of schooling, savings behavior, criminal behavior, employment, income, and other important outcomes. There is more recent evidence that personality traits predict the same outcomes, even when controlling for cognitive ability. As yet, research in economics and psychology has failed to specify which personality traits, above others, causally determine outcomes. Identifying the capacities that matter most for success is essential for policy and intervention. Further, it is essential to understand how these capacities develop across the life course and their susceptibility to intervention and investment. The proposed research examines self-control, the capacity to override impulses in order to act in one's best recognized interests. Research from criminology, sociology, psychopharmacology, psychiatry, personality psychology, and developmental psychology suggests that the capacity of self-control is crucial to successful functioning in every domain of life. Moreover, self-control is the closest conceptual analogue to the economic construct of time preference, the discount placed on future utility as a function of the delay to its consumption. Training in economics and aging will enable the applicant to accomplish the following specific research aims: (1) Develop a multi-dimensional measurement system linking self-control and time preference;(2) Establish the causal role of self-control and other capacities for economic, social, and health outcomes across the life course;and (3) Develop a model of the development of self-control across the life course. In prior research, the applicant has related self-control to academic achievement in youth. The proposed KOI significantly extends this work in terms of scope and methodological approach. Self-control enables people to do what they want and know they should do. The proposed didactic and research activities marry the approaches of economics and psychology to advance understanding of the causal role, life course development, and measurement of this crucial capacity.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
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National Institute on Aging Initial Review Group (NIA)
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Nielsen, Lisbeth
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University of Pennsylvania
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Yeager, David S; Henderson, Marlone D; Paunesku, David et al. (2014) Boring but important: a self-transcendent purpose for learning fosters academic self-regulation. J Pers Soc Psychol 107:559-80
Robertson-Kraft, Claire; Duckworth, Angela Lee (2014) True Grit: Trait-level Perseverance and Passion for Long-term Goals Predicts Effectiveness and Retention among Novice Teachers. Teach Coll Rec (1970) 116:
Galla, Brian M; Plummer, Benjamin D; White, Rachel E et al. (2014) The Academic Diligence Task (ADT): Assessing Individual Differences in Effort on Tedious but Important Schoolwork. Contemp Educ Psychol 39:314-325
Eskreis-Winkler, Lauren; Shulman, Elizabeth P; Duckworth, Angela L (2014) Survivor mission: Do those who survive have a drive to thrive at work? J Posit Psychol 9:209-218
Kurzban, Robert; Duckworth, Angela; Kable, Joseph W et al. (2013) An opportunity cost model of subjective effort and task performance. Behav Brain Sci 36:661-79
Duckworth, Angela L; Tsukayama, Eli; Kirby, Teri A (2013) Is it really self-control? Examining the predictive power of the delay of gratification task. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 39:843-55
Kern, Margaret L; Duckworth, Angela L; UrzĂșa, Sergio et al. (2013) Do as You're Told! Facets of Agreeableness and Early Adult Outcomes for Inner-City Boys. J Res Pers 47:
Tsukayama, Eli; Duckworth, Angela Lee; Kim, Betty (2013) Domain-specific impulsivity in school-age children. Dev Sci 16:879-93
Duckworth, Angela Lee; Quinn, Patrick D; Lynam, Donald R et al. (2011) Role of test motivation in intelligence testing. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:7716-20
Duckworth, Angela Lee; Kern, Margaret L (2011) A Meta-Analysis of the Convergent Validity of Self-Control Measures. J Res Pers 45:259-268

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