Day#124: The marshmallow test

Day#124: The marshmallow test

I have recently been very interested in neuroscience and behaviour and for this post we will be discussing the marshmallow test.


The test is constructed in the following way:

Initial study that I heard of first was done with children. Children were taken to a private room and given a marshmallow on a plate, the catch was that if they chose to wait till the tester came back they would then get another marshmallow as well. The video is both interesting and funny to see children’s reactions, some look like they are in total agony waiting for the tester to return, one little girl eats the marshmallow immediately. Other reactions include children touching and caressing the marshmallow gently and sometimes even picking little bits off of the marshmallow and eating it in a very guilty depressed fashion.


The findings:

This study is not only about the face value patience and reward system but a more underlying issue which was monitored over a period of years with the exact same study in earlier years. What was found was that the children who were willing to wait understood the value of increasing the outcome if an action was carried out, whether it be patience, hard work or any other variables, the findings found the children who waited ended up being more successful in the their lives. There can also be other variables that affect the study for example children who came from poorer homes where resources were a rare commodity were found to eat the marshmallow more readily but not show any remorse over their decision. This relates to the inconsistency of resources, so zero guilt was felt because the trust in the superior to bring more marshmallows was not instilled in the child

Original video

As you can see from the video below it is not to say that if you happen to be someone that is more reliant on instant gratification that you can not change your ways, new habits can always be formed if the effort for change is understood and practiced with mindful behavior. For this I refer to this article they explain various ways that the Marshmallow test was conducted and reworked over the years, they also show how behavior can be altered and having an instant gratification mindset can simply be changed with time and practice.

Scientist Michio Kaku discusses the study

Happy researching until next time!, bye for now

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