A Cognative Science Experiment

It goes like this:

The researcher leads a pre-school (age 4 or 5) child into a room. In the room there is a pedestal and a large, tasty marshmallow.

The researcher tells the child “you can eat the marshmallow whenever you want. But, if you wait until after I get back, you will be allowed to eat two marshmallows!”

The researcher now leaves the room.

This being a science experiment, they recorded what the children did.

Some of the children ate the marshmallow before the door closed on the researcher.

Some of the children walked up to the marshmallow, handled it, sniffed it, and agonized over not being able to eat it.

Coping strategies varied — one child even went to sleep on a mattress.

Others didn’t have much of a problem ignoring the marshmallow.

Apparently, about 1/3 ate the marshmallow, 1/3 had serious issues resisting, but managed, and 1/3 had no problem resisting.

They came back and looked at the study participants years and years later. The children who had the least problem delaying their gratification had were showing signs of becoming much more successful than the children who had problems, or who couldn’t resist eating the marshmallow.

So, here is the question. Do you think you could have resisted the marshmallow?


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Comments

  • Teresa says:

    The idea of eating marshmallows twice as much will be enough to make me wait. Patience is tested and achieved her. Delayed gratification indeed.

  • meg says:

    I’ll assume the child who slept on the mattress didn’t like marshmallows. Could have been me. 😀

  • Knowing myself as I do and being the bad boy I used to be, I would probably have gone up and ate all the marshmallows that the good kids left and let the researcher think everyone was weak and that they all come up to have one. My Bad.

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