Review of The Marshmallow Test

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  • Eye Opening
  • Background
  • Concrete Examples


Cognition researcher Walter Mischel offers a useful, accessible report to give readers a greater understanding of the role of self-control and how it relates to crucial mental attributes. He starts by describing the “Marshmallow Test,” wherein small children were challenged to try to wait long enough before eating a single marshmallow to earn two marshmallows. He integrates other scientific studies on self-control, links the data to solving real-world problems and explains how individual Marshmallow Test results predicted kids’ future success. He also provides a greater understanding of the role of self-control and how it relates to crucial mental attributes and to control of harmful habits. His book will please those who want to help kids succeed, to learn how the mind functions or to improve their self-control.

About the Author

The co-author of Introduction to Personality, Walter Mischel is a professor of humane letters in psychology at Columbia University. He has written more than 200 scientific papers.


“The Marshmallow Test”

In the 1960s, cognitive-science researcher Walter Mischel began a series of studies – known as the Marshmallow Test – at Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School. Mischel’s research team gave preschoolers a choice between earning “one reward,” such as a marshmallow, immediately, or earning “two rewards,” like two marshmallows, if they could wait 20 minutes.

Mischel watched the little boys and girls struggle not to end their chance to earn a double reward. It turned out that how they fought for self-control and whether they managed to delay gratification indicated a surprising amount about how they’d do in school and in their future lives.

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