Marshmallow Test Revisited
Date posted: July 6, 2018
Have you heard of the Marshmallow Test? It was one of the one of the more influential pieces of research in psychology and is often considered as scientific proof for the importance of self control. And, it inspired a number of interventions (although that was not the intent of the research).
The Marshmallow Test was a series of studies on delayed gratification in children, conducted in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It found children who could wait for the second marshmallow were more likely to be well-adjusted, do better on the SATs and have a lower body mass index in their teens.
Now the study has been repeated and the results are not as definitive. This new research is not an exact replication. The sample is much larger and more representative of the general population, and the analysis controlled for factors such as income of a child’s household. They found that the associations between delay time in young children and behavioural outcomes at age 15 were much smaller and rarely statistically significant.
For details, read the research report, Revisiting the Marshmallow Test: A Conceptual Replication Investigating Links Between Early Delay of Gratification and Later Outcomes
To learn more, read:
- Softening Claims of the Marshmallow Test from Inside Higher Ed
- We learned the wrong lesson about self-control from the famous marshmallow test from Quartz
- Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test from The Atlantic