We've all heard the sayings that we would rather have half of a chocolate right now, than a whole chocolate in a month, because we, as wild animals, are constantly seeking for sources. But what's really the evolutionary principle behind this? Is it just that we are better at imagining a near pleasure?
The evolutionary significance of self-regulation is that humans are more capable of this feat than apes. We can solve problems without visual feedback, by visualization. Apes are good problem solvers, but have difficulties when the task does not offer visual cues, but requires prospective and causal reasoning. This is one of the reasons monkeys fail on delay discounting tasks.