Risk/Self Control Games
"Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em." - Kenny Rogers
The famous Marshmallow Test found that 4 year olds who held out longer for a second marshmallow when left alone did better years later on their SAT scores. It was hailed as proof of the importance of self-control. But what if the kids who didn't wait were simply mitigating risk? After all, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." The riskier choice, really, was to wait. The truth is, risk and self-control are two sides of the same coin. By gaining practice at balancing them we learn to make better decisions. These games emphasize both risk taking and self control: a winning cognitive combination!
Gravity Guy, World's Hardest Game, Bug on a WireIn these three really hard but really fun games, the player must keep a fast moving character from being caught by adversaries. They require quick, almost automatic responses from the player. Kids build up these responses by trying and failing, observing, analyzing, anticipating, and modulating their responses to very fine timelines. Players have to react with little warning, remembering what happened so they will be prepared the next time around.
Gyroball, Cave Chaos, BombaThese online games require nerves of steel in order to move an item from one place to another without losing it.
Duck Life, Fast Car Frenzy, BMW Driving ChallengeOnline racing games are great for keeping your cool while needing split-second reflexes.
- Working Memory and Digit Span training has been shown to improve subjects' ability to wait for a reward.
- Team sports are a terrific way to develop executive function skills such as self-control and risk taking.
- Remember the Future: Working Memory Training Decreases Delay Discounting Among Stimulant Addicts (Bickel et al., 2011)
- Students need challenge, not easy success (Clifford, 1990)
- Praise for Intelligence Can Undermine Children's Motivation and Performance (Mueller & Dweck, 1998)
- Delay of Gratification in Children (Mischel, Shoda & Rodriguez, 1989)