var _gaq = _gaq || []; _gaq.push(['_setAccount', 'UA-13294490-3']); _gaq.push(['_trackPageview']); (function() { var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true; ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + ''; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s); })();

The Marshmallow Test



A child sits alone in a room, staring at a plate piled with delicious-looking marshmallows. The girl has been told that she has two options: eat one now, or wait 15 minutes and have two of the sugary treats.


Tantalised, the child reaches across, hand hovering over the plate. Will she be able to resist temptation and hold out for the greater reward?


The girl was one of hundreds of six-year-old children taking part in a psychological experiment devised over 50 years ago by Walter Mischel, a professor of psychology from the University of Columbia, to explore their ability to delay gratification. In revealing the roots of self-control, the Marshmallow Test – the title of a new book published by Prof Mischel – sheds unexpected light on people’s ability to succeed in a variety of life situations, including financial decision making.


Prof Mischel’s experiment found that about 25 per cent of children could resist grabbing the treat and highlighted the variety of strategies they used to resist its siren call. But the full implications of the experiment only emerged in the decades after it was conducted.


Looking in later life at the children he had recorded in the early 1960s as well as new groups of teenagers, Prof Mischel found that those who passed the test were more likely to do well academically and socially than those who did not. They could plan better and overcome problems in their lives more easily.


And as they left school and entered the workplace, the statistical correlation between “success” and ability to pass the marshmallow test continued to hold. Those with greater self-control as children were more successful in their careers, less likely to suffer from obesity or alcoholism or to use drugs.


Posted in Marketing

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright © Andras Baneth. All Rights Reserved.