Are you informed on the most significant advancement in the genre of psychology? Do you know that substantial outcome the marshmallow experiment presents you with? Well, you’re missing out on a lot if you’re not familiar with the essential “marshmallow experiment!”.

The standard marshmallow experiment is crucial because it demonstrated that one could not achieve effective delay by just thinking about something other than what they want; instead, it is controlled by avoidance and suppressive mechanisms that work to reduce frustration. This is just a sneak peek of what a great piece of knowledge the marshmallow experiment is. Please browse through the following article to get your hands on everything you need to know regarding the marshmallow experiment.

What Is The Marshmallow Experiment?

The marshmallow experiment was a study led by a psychologist at Stanford University, namely Walter Mischel. The study was essentially conducted in 1972 and was centered around delayed gratification.

This study focuses on a child who could choose between a small reward offered immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a certain period. The researcher had to leave the room for 15 minutes during this interval and then return. Depending upon the child’s preference, the reward would either be a pretzel stick or a marshmallow.

The follow-up studies dictated that children who were able to resist the reward longer tended to have substantially better outcomes in life, as comprehended by specific life measures, body mass index, educational attainment, and SAT scores.

A replication attempt was made using a sample from a comparatively more diverse population and over ten times larger than the initial study. The results of this replication attempt demonstrated merely half the result of the original research. As suggested by the replication, economic background instead of willpower explained the other half of the original study.

Messages To Extract

  • An experimental design that measures a child’s ability to delay gratification is known as the marshmallow test. The child is subjected to two options: either wait for a little to receive their favorite treat or receive a less desired treat without waiting for it. The seconds or minutes a child waits demonstrate his ability to delay gratification.
  • The original marshmallow test demonstrated that experimental conditions like the physical absence or presence of expected treats significantly impacts the delay times of preschoolers’
  • The original test sample substantially restricted the predictive ability of the study because it was not representative of the preschooler population.
  • It was reported that preschoolers who initially waited 15 minutes to get their desired treat waited for a much less interval when their preferred treat was in view than when neither treat was within sight.
  • The study suggested that delay in gratification by children involved suppressing instances rather than enhancing attention towards desired rewards. For example, some children who waited for longer intervals with both treats within sight would cover their eyes, stare in a mirror, or talk to themselves rather than fixate on the marshmallow or pretzel.

The Bigger Picture

The failed replication of the Stanford marshmallow test does substantially more than merely debunk the earlier notion; it dictates why poorer kids could be less motivated to wait for the second treat.

Fewer guarantees are held by daily life, so waiting for longer intervals carries a risk for them. And even if their parents make a promise of buying more of a specific food, that promise gets broken quite often after falling prey to a financial necessity.

On the contrary, for kids who belong to households held by better educated and financially more stable parents, it’s pretty easier to delay gratification. This is because their former experience dictates that adults have the financial stability and resources to repeatedly stock the pantry well for them. And even if such children don’t end up delaying gratification, they hold trust that things will work out for better in the end—and that even if they don’t get to receive the second marshmallow, they can feasibly count on their parents to take them to an ice-cream parlor instead.

There’s More To It

The marshmallow test has been subjected to criticism over the years. The biggest comprehends that delay gratification might primarily be an upper and middle-class value. It doesn’t make much sense for a child growing up in a significantly poor household to delay gratification when they’re so often subjected to instability in their lives.

Another such case might be that some kids are less interested in treats and candy than others.