Imagine yourself driving down the freeway and this guy comes up behind you speeding at 90mph, cuts you off, and in the process of cutting you off, he hits your car, and yet you manage not to slap him for being such a reckless driver. For that moment, you demonstrated self-regulation; you wanted to slap him, but you chose and managed to restrain yourself from doing so.
Self-regulation is a complex process that involves initiating, inhibiting, or modulating the following aspects of function: (1) internal feeling states (the subjective experience of emotion); (2) emotion-related cognitions (thoughts about what one wants to one’s interpretation of a situation; (3) emotion-related physiological processes (heart rate, hormonal or other physiological reactions that can change as a function of regulating one’s feeling states and thoughts); (4) emotion-related behavior (actions or facial expression related to one’s feelings) (Siegler, 2006).
No one is born with the ability to regulate their emotions. It is a long, slow process before any self-regulation is emerged.
So, where does it all begin? Childhood. Pre-school is a great place to start teaching self-regulation. An experiment that I believe to be a useful demonstration of educating children on their self-regulation is group games that promote leadership skills. Materials Needed for Experiment: •Pilot’s hats Procedure To begin this experiment the marshmallow test must be administered to the kids and the results must be recorded. We then separate the kids into two different groups.
One of the groups will be the control group where the kids will be allowed to play freely. The second group will be the experimental group; this is the where the kids will have to follow a special set of instructions to play games. While the control group in the room next door is playing, a few teachers will then give out instructions to the experimental group. The teachers will divide the kids into groups of four; each teacher will be response for his or her own group and administer the same game as the other experimental groups. For this experiment, the game is to play “airplane”.
The teacher will ask the children “Who’s in an airplane? ” The kids respond with “pilot, someone who serves food, someone who serves drinks and passengers”. The teachers will then assign one child as the pilot; the teacher will also explain that as long as C1 (child 1) is wearing the pilot’s hat, the rest of the group must listen to his instructions. The teacher will then ask C1 to assign the other three remaining roles to the three other children in the group. Then the teachers will step back and allow them to play “airplane” and see how well the other kids follow C1’s instructions.
After approximately fifteen minutes of play, the children will switch roles until every child in the group has had a turn being the pilot and that everyone else has had a chance to play follower to the pilot. To end this experiment, both the control group and the experimental group will be tested again with the marshmallow test to see if the leadership game made any difference to the results recorded from before. Conclusion/ Result The children in the experimental group will be better at NOT eating the marshmallow in the second marshmallow test due to the training they received when they were playing the “airplane” leadership game.
The leadership game taught the children how to follow instructions, even though they were the ones who wanted to be the ones giving the instructions. It shows that this game will help regulate their self-control and give them a better chance at “passing” the marshmallow test. All in all, I believe what the children learned during the “airplane” leadership game will not only impact their second marshmallow results, I believe that it will change the way they will behave in class; such as, raising their hands more, instead of shouting out answers all the time.
In a way, I believe self-regulation can be taught. Look at this game, this game is considered a teaching tool for self-regulation, kids learn from it, and they apply it to the next situation they encounter. Another way I believe self-regulation can be taught is by playing the piano. Playing the piano requires a lot of patience and practice over time to master the art; if one can sit down and take his/her time to practice patiently, he/she would be able to apply the patience of waiting into other situations as well. That is why I believe self-regulation can be taught.
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