The Marshmallow Effect

Today, I want to share a resource that became the topic of one of the “rants” Susan mentioned yesterday. We were discussing how important it is for student to learn how to “delay gratification” in order to be successful… in school or in life.

So, I shared this video with her.

This Marshmallow Experiment was originally conducted in 1972 by psychologist Walter Mischel of Stanford University. It is considered to be one of the most successful behavioral experiments ever completed.

The experiment was conducted to study delayed gratification, the ability to wait for what we want. Each child between the ages of four and six was taken, one at a time, to a room with few distractions.

They were given a marshmallow and it was explained to them that they could eat the marshmallow right away, or wait until the researcher came back in 15 minutes and receive a second marshmallow.

Some of the children ate the marshmallow as soon as the researcher left the room, some tried to wait, but eventually gave in to the temptation of the marshmallow, and about one-third of the children successfully waited the 15 minutes and received the second marshmallow.

Follow-up studies years later showed that the children who could wait the entire 15 minutes were more likely to be successful in school and in life than the students who could not wait. The Marshmallow Experiment has been repeated numerous times in different settings, and the results continue to support the results of the original experiment.

The Marshmallow Experiment demonstrates the importance of teaching our children impulse control. So, how do we go about teaching impulse control? Please share your strategies by posting a comment to this article.




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