Stanford Marshmallow Experiment

Stanford Marshmallow Experiment

What is it?

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment was a study conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel in the 1960s, in which children were given the choice between a small reward (such as one marshmallow) immediately or a larger reward (such as two marshmallows) if they waited for a certain period of time. The experiment showed that children who were able to delay gratification and wait for the larger reward tended to have better life outcomes later on, such as higher academic achievement and better social skills. The study is often cited as evidence of the importance of self-control and delayed gratification in success.

The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment was a study conducted in the late 1960s and early 1970s by psychologist Walter Mischel at Stanford University. The experiment aimed to investigate delayed gratification and self-control in young children.

In layman's terms, the experiment involved placing a child in a room with a marshmallow (or another treat) and giving them a choice. They could either eat the marshmallow right away or wait for a short period (usually around 15 minutes), and if they managed to wait, they would receive a second marshmallow as a reward. The researcher would then leave the room, and the child would be observed to see if they could resist the temptation to eat the marshmallow.

The purpose of the experiment was to see if young children could understand the concept of delaying their immediate desires for a more significant reward later on. The study found that some children could wait for the second marshmallow, while others couldn't resist the temptation and ate the first marshmallow.

Years later, Mischel and his team conducted follow-up studies and found that the children who were able to wait for the second marshmallow generally had better outcomes in life, such ...