Gratification is the positive emotional response (happiness) to a fulfillment of desire.

Maturity is often defined as the ability to delay gratification (patience), and progress as the real or imagined perception of movement towards gratification.

Western culture is sometimes criticized for its emphasis on instant gratification, i.e., the conscious expenditure of effort to make the time interval between wanting something and getting it as short as possible. This focus may be due in part to the influence of utilitarianism, the consequentialist belief that morality can be measured by the overall yield of happiness (utility) that results from a particular action. One example of a significant influence of this theory is the importance of cost-benefit analysis in Western economic theory.

Currently, a free self-report Delaying Gratification Inventory is available online as a part of a research project conducted by Central Michigan University The survey describes trait differences in the tendency to delay or immediately seek gratification along six categories as well as a global domain. The survey provides custom personality feedback on this trait.

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