However, those that did wait the 15 minutes did not only get a second treat, but have also done better for themselves later in life on measures of social and academic success. The impatient "grabbers" has had less success academically, and they weigh more, use crack more, get divorced more, and get paid less. Needless to say, the causal factor affects both the ability to resist temptation and success in life - the marshmallow is not a blue pill. One must take care to get the causal relationship right.
Those who waited for a second marshmallow turned out to be more socially competent, self-assertive and academically successful. In their school exams, the "waiters" scored an average of 210 points more than the "grabbers". (Source.)It find it utterly amazing that this simple experiment can be used as a predictor of success in adults. I would never have guessed that it could work, even if I acknowledged that what determines success in life is already "built" at age four. What if the kids aren't equally hungry? What if they don't like marshmallows equally much?
I honestly don't know how I would have performed at age four. My mind was on candy a lot in those days, but I think I would have performed differently had the treat been chocolate. Not that I know which way it would have changed the outcome. Would I have eaten my favorite treat instantly, or waited as long as it took to double up?
Inge-Marie Eigsti, Vivian Zayas, Walter Mischel, Yuichi Shoda, Ozlem Ayduk, Mamta B. Dadlani, Matthew C. Davidson, J. Lawrence Aber, B.J. Casey (2006). Predicting Cognitive Control From Preschool to Late Adolescence and Young Adulthood Psychological Science, 17 (6), 478-484 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01732.x
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