The marshmallow test revisited

Children may care more about what authority figures think of them then what was previously thought.

The marshmallow test revisited
Marshmallow test revisited

by UC San Diego

Main titles

  • Is the marshmallow test simply about self-control, or are other factors at play also?
  • In the classic marshmallow test, children are given a single marshmallow. If they can wait a while without eating it, they will get an additional marshmallow.
  • Research has shown that the ability to delay gratification is predictive of several positive life outcomes in the future, such as greater tolerance to stress and higher SAT scores.
  • The new study has shown that children will wait almost twice as long after being told that their teacher will be informed of the result.
  • "Reputation management," comes into play.

Marshmallow Test

“The classic marshmallow test has shaped the way researchers think about the development of self-control, which is an important skill. Our new research suggests that in addition to measuring self-control, the task may also be measuring another important skill: awareness of what other people value.” - Gail Heyman.

  • Children waited longer to eat the marshmallow when they were told that their teacher would find out than when they were told that their peers would find out.
  • The research suggests that 3-4-year-old children value social rewards and care more about boosting their reputation than previously thought.

Source: UC San Diego