The term - 'Deferred Gratification' refers to a person or people who have impulse control - that is; they do not act on every urge or instinct (especially sexual) that we all have to varying degrees inside of ourselves, in our psyche.
In order to best understand this - the Psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud are useful. Freud divided the human psyche (human personality if you will) - your essence - into 3 parts - the Id, the Ego & the Superego.
The Id is the center of all our most basic and primal instincts and urges - it operates, according to Freud, on the Pleasure Principle.
The Ego - is the domain of rational thought - our judgement and discretion and operates according to the so called Reality Principle.
The Superego is our (moral) conscience.
The Ego and Superego work together to regulate, censor and moderate human behavior. The Superego will tell us if an action is right or wrong - the Ego will decide upon a course of action, the Id will compell a person to act (on their impulse
or when faced with a particular stimulus - [in life]).
People who lack impulse control have an overriding Id factor, the Ego and Superego cannot perform their regulatory function. These would be people who are extremely hedonistic, (like people in the sex industry) and can even go so far as to include serial killers (psychotics). Compulsive gamblers, anyone engaging in often damaging (even self destructive) behavior which tends to veer away limits imposed by society and its laws, norms and values.
It has been found that children with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (see link below) may experience problems deferring gratification - a lack of impulse control.
The link below will also describe some experiments performed with children to ascertain if they have a lack of impulse control and are unable to defer gratification and also followed their progress through life into adulthood. The outcome of the experiment showed that those kids with impulse control turned out to be more successful as adults than those who could not defer gratification at an early age (in the same experiment.)
John K · 7 years ago