The marshmallow experiment is a famous test of self control conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University and discussed by Daniel Goleman in his popular work, Emotional Intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ. In the 1960s, four-year olds were given a marshmallow and promised another, only if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one. Some children could wait and others could not. The researchers then followed the progress of each child into adolescence, and demonstrated that those with the ability to wait were better adjusted and more dependable (determined via surveys of their parents and teachers), and scored an average of 210 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).
This experiment is circulating again with self-regulation and self-control being some of the hottest topics in parenting and educational circles. Here is one teacher’s take on the why the marshmallow test is still relevant. Today, the talk is not only about marshmallows and 4 years olds, but concerning young adults and the distracting influence of technology.
retrieved from Education Week, May 22, 2012