The Marshmallow Test

By Walter Mischel,

Book cover of The Marshmallow Test: Why Self-Control Is the Engine of Success

Book description

A child is presented with a marshmallow and given a choice: Eat this one now, or wait and enjoy two later. What will she do? And what are the implications for her behaviour later in life?

Walter Mischel's now iconic 'marshmallow test,' one of the most famous experiments in the…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Marshmallow Test as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

If you’ve ever heard that the “marshmallow research” shows that the ability to delay gratification aged 3 determines your life success and skills later, this book will put you right! It is far more positive, interesting and practical than that and you need to read the whole book, not just the headlines. There are techniques you can put into practice to improve your (and your family’s) habits in relation to pretty much anything. I use it to help develop healthy screen-time behaviours – for myself, too! And I refer to it regularly when giving talks and training to teachers and…

Researchers placed a marshmallow in front of a child, and if they could wait for several minutes without eating it, they would be rewarded with an additional marshmallow. This is the famous psychology experiment known as the Marshmallow Test, and it teaches us what it takes to acquire the habit of delaying gratification for a greater reward. The children who performed well on this test not only had good grades in school but also tended to be healthier and less likely to abuse drugs later as adults. Taking the test results at face value, one might conclude that much of…

From Fumio's list on harnessing the power of habits.

Our culture has a great tendency to (over-) emphasize the importance of talent in a person’s life, as though our abilities came as standard equipment fresh from the factory. And yet one of the strongest determinants of a fulfilling life has little to do with intelligence or skill or mysteriously-acquired abilities. It’s about the ability to manage our wanton and often self-defeating impulses. Mischel uses the famous “marshmallow test” studies to describe the cultivation of self-discipline - not so that we can be responsible to others, but so we can achieve the goals WE choose for ourselves.

From Randy's list on building adulthood in your twenties.

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