New twist on a classic study, and one of the most important findings of last year.
(Updated) It’s the rare psychological experiment that is both informative and invariably hilarious to observe, but the “marshmallow test” — the one in which young children are asked to resist the sweet treat in front of them for the promise of a bigger, better treat later — fits the bill. Kids squirm, wriggle, sing aloud and cover their eyes to distract themselves from the temptation; they’ll even allow themselves to sniff or slyly stroke the yummy dessert, but not pick it up: their cuteness is often irresistible.
This apparently trivial challenge has serious implications, however. Children who are able to restrain themselves the longest in the marshmallow test are generally those who end up more successful later on in life: they grow up to achieve higher SAT scores (a 210 point difference), earn higher incomes, and have a lower chance of obesity, a lower risk of drug misuse and better…
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