Saturday, April 12, 2014

How would I do in the marshmallow test?

The target age for this test
About 40 years ago, a Stanford researcher tested a group of 4 year olds. The child was given a marshmallow but was told, s/he could have two if the first wasn't eaten while the researcher left the room for 15 minutes. Younger children would quickly gobble up the marshmallow; older than 4 would  generally wait for two. Only at 4 would there be two distinct groups: those who wanted instant gratification  and those willing to hold off for more. The two groups were followed up into adult hood. In general, the waiters had superior executive functioning, had higher SAT scores, were not obese, had better paying jobs than the kids who just couldn't wait. This has been repeated numerous times with different objects (cookies, pretzels) and similar results were obtained. Now new research has shown that children from in low income homes do much more poorly than their well-heeled peers. I haven't tested Maya yet to see what she would do. She is still not yet 4. Will she do worse because of her low household income versus the higher income of her cousin's? Will it matter what the object of desire is? She recently got into my French macarons. I have yogurt covered cookie stars for her and fruit Newtons but no..she wanted the expensive cookie. It was pink. (raspberry) Daniel's object of desire would be Peeps (the almond macaron would get him sick).

How would I have done? Very poorly I am afraid though I don't think I ever craved marshmallows. I have a hard time saying no to food. I tell myself No a thousand times a day but it only takes a few times to undo my will power. Yet I probably had high 'executive functioning'. I did do well on my SATs. I could push myself through training for marathons and triathlons. My job involved a lot of planning and self-discipline. I plan many things and handle a lot of details at once Yet I would have grabbed that cookie as fast as I could.

Our days of nice weather will turn into days of rain Even though this was the worst winter ever, I actually ran more this year than last mainly because I wasn't sick like I was last winter. I learned to run on top of snow. I did go for a nice bike ride today though I wish the street crews would get out and clean some of the bike lanes up.

Steve went with Josh to listen to an insurance salesman spiel. I couldn't put up with that any longer. They may pretend to have your best interest but the truth is, they are looking out mainly for themselves.

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