The Marshmallow Test

I've blogged about the Marshmallow test. Here's the video evidence. I still want to do this experiment on my niece. Why have kids, if you don't play with their minds?
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=5239013&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Oh, The Temptation from Steve V on Vimeo.

9 thoughts on “The Marshmallow Test

  1. On your niece, you might need IRB approval. But hey, your own kids are fair game–YOU can consent. This apparently explains why many academic psychologists have kids.
    On an old topic: Nightline did the Texas “arson” case last night and the program included two things not mentioned the article: (1) the prosecutor of the case is now a judge and (2) he remains “convinced the man is guilty! Chilling.

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  2. The video was hilarious. Delayed gratification seems to be a big deal in training/learning success in all the literature (both with animals & people).

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  3. It looks to me like part of the problem is boredom. I mean come on, the kids are stimming, they’re so bored. I think the ones sniffing it and pinching off tiny bits were just trying to pass the time. Though the girl who stuffed it in her mouth before the researcher stopped talking is another story 🙂
    I guess there are cognitive skills in finding other ways to entertain yourself to avoid temptation.

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  4. The little blind boy who gets the second at the end is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Mostly, what surprised me is that they just sat there in front of the plate. I thought for sure, at least one kid who get up and play around the room while waiting.

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  5. “Why have kids, if you don’t play with their minds?”
    To dress them up in cute clothes and take them to church and absorb envy from other parishioners?

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  6. I showed the video to the kids just now, and my oldest insisted on doing the test right away. I wasn’t sure how long to do it for, so we did 5 minutes with one mini-marshmallow. She got through it fine, sitting in the chair and singing a marshmallow-themed variant of Old Dan Tucker. “Mom, I’m not suffering! I’m staying happy!” she said. She’s 7. A possible confounding issue is that she was sitting in the dining room opposite me and her brother was coming and going, so maybe it wasn’t boring enough. I tried not to provide any stimulation.
    D isn’t a marshmallow guy, so I had him choose a Skittle and put it on a plate in front of him. I shooed oldest out to make things boring. D got out of his chair once, but I sent him back. He was singing some sort of song about coconuts. He ate his Skittle as soon as the timer dinged. He’s 4.5. I think it took more out of him to sit and look at that Skittle than the wait took out of his older sister. Age has got to make a big difference in results.
    I also think that the ability to self-entertain has got to be very important in getting a child successfully through this ordeal.

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  7. I’m afraid to try it with my son. There are enough times that I have to piss him off (“No, I’m going to do the driving.”) that I’m unwilling to try another one for science/curiosity. Maybe next year.

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