Self-control processes in the forbidden toy paradigm

Ebbe B. Ebbesen, Richard J. Bowers, Susan Phillips, Mark Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Conducted 2 experiments in the traditional "forbidden toy" paradigm to test the hypothesis that derogation of the forbidden toy is a means of making the temptation to play with the toy less frustrative, rather than of reducing cognitive dissonance. Ss were a total of 146 nursery school children (mean age = 4 yrs). In Exp I, distraction from thinking about the forbidden toy during the temptation period was manipulated. Results of a verbal measure of liking support the prediction while those for a behavioral playtime measure do not. Exp II further tested the self-control hypothesis by directing the children's attention to either their liking for the forbidden toy, their behavior toward the toy, neither condition, or both conditions. Greater derogation and less playtime in the mild-threat conditions only occurred when the Ss' liking for the toy was made salient. As a result, the self-control explanation is supported. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-452
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1975


  • attention to toy during temptation period, self control processes in forbidden toy paradigm, nursery school children
  • distraction from &


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