Too proud to regulate: The differential effect of pride versus joy on children's ability to delay gratification

Einav Shimoni, Marwa Asbe, Tal Eyal, Andrea Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We examined the effect of the distinct positive emotions pride and joy on children's self-regulation, focusing on their ability to delay gratification (i.e., resist a temptation in favor of a long-term goal). We hypothesized that because pride corresponds to the attainment of long-term goals and joy corresponds to the attainment of immediate desires, the experience of pride may signal sufficient progress toward a long-term goal, resulting in less delay of gratification than the experience of joy. To test this hypothesis, we induced an experience of pride or joy in 8-year-old children. At this age, the ability to self-regulate-and to experience pride and joy distinctively-is relatively mature. We then measured performance in a delay discounting task. We found that, compared with the joy condition and a control condition, children who experienced pride performed worse on the delay discounting task (p=.045), indicating poorer self-regulation. This result suggests that emotions may function as cues for sufficient goal pursuit, thereby influencing self-regulation from a very young age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-282
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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