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The surprising thing the 'marshmallow test' reveals about kids in an instant-gratification world

Los Angeles Times

Pioneered in the 1960s by a young Stanford psychology professor named Walter Mischel, the marshmallow test left a child between the ages of 3 and 5 alone in a room with two identical plates, each containing different quantities of marshmallows, pretzels, cookies or another delicious treat. Before leaving the room "to do some work," the adult researcher instructed the child that the single treat on one plate could be eaten at any time. But if the child could wait for him to return before eating it, the researcher added, she could have the second, bigger treat instead.

Today's youngsters can delay gratification longer than those of 1960s

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Technology has been blamed for causing children to crave constant stimulation because they can no longer control their impulses. But according to a new study, young people today have more willpower than they did in the 1960s and so are more likely to succeed. One explanation for the trend is there has been an increase in IQ scores among children in the last several decades. This has been linked to improvements in technologies that give children a global view of the world and help them develop their skills faster, researchers claim. Today's youngsters may be able to delay their gratification significantly longer to get an extra reward than those of the 1960s.

4 small things successful people do to see big results


While there are some individuals who are born with incredibly high IQs, monetizable skills, or magnetic personalities that allow them to move up in life, and there are some who simply got lucky, most people aren't that far apart from one another, and the differences are largely controllable – anyone can become "somebody." What do successful people do that makes the difference? It's not that they're taking huge risks or making decisions that are massively different than yours, like attending one university over another, pursuing a certain career field, learning a specific language, or building connections with powerful people. These are big things, and while these choices and activities may play a role, the real answer is they're doing a few small things well. Who is the most successful person you know?

Marshmallow Test's Newest Surprise: Kids Have More Self Control Today Than In The '60s

Forbes - Tech

The folks who brought us the marshmallow test have some unlikely news: children today have more self-control than ever. That conclusion is based on more than 50 years of results from the iconic test, which allows a preschooler to eat one treat immediately or two if she can wait 10 minutes. The effort at delayed gratification is vastly funny but the results were found to have serious implications for children's future success. Led by psychologist Walter Mischel, who created the experiment -- one of the most famous in developmental psychology -- a research team found that children tested between 2002-2012 held out for two minutes longer on average than the original test-takers in the 1960s, and one minute longer than participants in the 1980s. A 4-year-old in the earliest group waited as long as a child between 2 ½ and 3 in the most recent tests, and 4-year-old test-takers in the 1980s waited as long as a child who was 3 ½ in the 2000s.

Children who pass 'the marshmallow test' are not just after a treat, but also a boost in reputation

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The marshmallow test is a well-known piece of social science researcher used to determine a child's ability to delay gratification, which is said to indicate success later in life. A team revisited the 1972 Stanford experiment and found that it is not just the treat children care about, but also how authority figures view them. A group of preschool students were separated in two group, with one being told their teacher would find out how long they waited for a sweet and the other was told it was their classmates. Those in the'teacher condition' group were found to wait twice as long, suggesting that when children made the decision to hold back as a way to boost their reputation. The marshmallow test is a well-known piece of social science researcher used to determine a child's ability to delay gratification, which is said to indicate success later in life.