A comparative perspective offers an excellent means for understanding the basic mechanisms of self-control. In comparison to human studies, animal studies offer higher levels of control over environmental aspects such as satiation and motivation and allow greater opportunity for repeated testing over time. In addition, animal studies allow for self-control assessments distinct from other cognitive and social capacities that are universal in humans (e.g., language and cultural influences). Although our initial task is to demonstrate that nonhuman animals can regulate their impulsive tendencies, our ultimate goal is to determine how that happens. What does the organism do to assert self-control? How is attention directed, and what behavioral strategies are efficient in supporting self-control? What role does the behavior of other animals play in self-control and can changes in social situations improve self-control? Are self-control capacities a limited resource (like aspects of memory or even muscle exertion)? What brain regions support inhibitory processes in these animals, and do they match those found in humans? [Finally, how does development interact with each of these questions?] The significance of these studies is a better understanding of why self-control fails, how such failures are linked to environmental and biological influences, and what strategies might be used to improve self-control in situations in which impulsivity is the likely response of the organism. The consequences of self-control failures cannot be overstated. Overeating, drug use, risky sexual behavior, compulsive gambling, and physical aggression all occur because of a lack of behavioral restraint, and they have direct negative effects on health, wellbeing, and society. All of these behaviors result from short-sightedness in evaluating outcomes, a central feature of impulsivity. The well-established literature on delay discounting indicates clearly that animals (including humans) typically value things nearer in time while devaluing those further in the future (e.g., Estle et al., 2007;Green et al., 2004;Kagel et al., 1986;Logue, 1988;Odum &Rainuad, 2003). Of course, in some instances short-term interests should be valued at a premium given uncertainty about the future. Never knowing when one would next encounter a plentiful food source or an opportunity to mate meant that activities available here and now were highly valued. However, with the development of future-oriented processes such as planning, and the emergence of accurate memories of past opportunities taken and avoided, organisms could anticipate the likelihood of better future rewards and the cost of taking or avoiding current rewards.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Type
Research Program Projects (P01)
Project #
5P01HD060563-04
Application #
8511754
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZHD1-DSR-H)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2013-09-01
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2013
Total Cost
$78,278
Indirect Cost
$23,613
Name
Georgia State University
Department
Type
DUNS #
837322494
City
Atlanta
State
GA
Country
United States
Zip Code
30302
Parrish, Audrey E; Evans, Theodore A; Beran, Michael J (2015) Defining value through quantity and quality-Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) undervalue food quantities when items are broken. Behav Processes 111:118-26
Parrish, Audrey E; Beran, Michael J (2014) Chimpanzees sometimes see fuller as better: judgments of food quantities based on container size and fullness. Behav Processes 103:184-91
Vonk, Jennifer; Torgerson-White, Lauri; McGuire, Molly et al. (2014) Quantity estimation and comparison in western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). Anim Cogn 17:755-65
Beran, Michael J; Evans, Theodore A; Paglieri, Fabio et al. (2014) Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) can wait, when they choose to: a study with the hybrid delay task. Anim Cogn 17:197-205
Agrillo, Christian; Parrish, Audrey E; Beran, Michael J (2014) Do rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) perceive the Zöllner illusion? Psychon Bull Rev 21:986-94
Roberts, Anna Ilona; Vick, Sarah-Jane; Roberts, Sam George Bradley et al. (2014) Chimpanzees modify intentional gestures to coordinate a search for hidden food. Nat Commun 5:3088
Sayers, Ken; Lovejoy, C Owen (2014) Blood, bulbs, and bunodonts: on evolutionary ecology and the diets of Ardipithecus, Australopithecus, and early Homo. Q Rev Biol 89:319-57
Chevalier, Nicolas; James, Tiffany D; Wiebe, Sandra A et al. (2014) Contribution of reactive and proactive control to children's working memory performance: Insight from item recall durations in response sequence planning. Dev Psychol 50:1999-2008
Smith, J David; Boomer, Joseph; Zakrzewski, Alexandria C et al. (2014) Deferred feedback sharply dissociates implicit and explicit category learning. Psychol Sci 25:447-57
Perdue, Bonnie M; Evans, Theodore A; Williamson, Rebecca A et al. (2014) Prospective memory in children and chimpanzees. Anim Cogn 17:287-95

Showing the most recent 10 out of 63 publications