Priming pride promotes delay of gratification

Einav Shimoni, Andrea Berger, Tal Eyal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Distinct positive emotions signal adherence to specific goals: pride signals the successful pursuit of long-term goals, while joy signals the successful pursuit of immediate desires. We propose that when children are primed with a positive emotion, without actually feeling it, they are likely to pursue the goal that evokes it. Because delaying gratification involves resisting an immediate desire for the sake of a long-term goal, we predicted that, when primed with pride, children would delay gratification more often than when primed with joy. We tested 8-year-olds’ ability to delay gratification, using a delay-discounting task. We primed pride/joy by having children either imagine a future emotional event (Experiment 1) or listen to another child’s emotional experience (Experiment 2). As predicted, pride-primed children showed lower delay discounting than children who were primed with joy and the control condition, demonstrating enhanced self-regulation. These results suggest that, from a young age, simply thinking about an emotion without actually experiencing it may cue pursuit of associated goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)786-802
Number of pages17
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Delay of gratification
  • Joy
  • Positive emotion
  • Pride
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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