Sunday, January 10, 2010

Marshmallow Test: A Lesson in Self Control

The marshmallow experiment is a famous test of this concept conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University and discussed by Daniel Goleman in his popular work. In the 1960s, a group of 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.

  1. What do you think of the results of the study?
  2. How do you think self control can help you in school? How does it make you a better student?
  3. Why would someone with self control be a more dependable person?
  4. What are some things that you have difficulty controlling in your life?
  5. Design your own marshmallow test...what items could you use to "tempt" other students in your advisor group?