Marshmellow Test (Marshmellow Experiment)
The Marshmallow Test or Marshmallow Experiment is a popular experiment on patience. This was originally conducted in the 1960s by Walter Mischel, a Stanford professor. Preschool children were individually brought into a private room; each child was seated in front of a marshmallow. The researcher then offered a deal; he was going to leave the room and if the child did not eat the marshmallow, he would reward the child with a second marshmallow. If the child ate the first marshmallow by the time the researcher returned, no second marshmallow would be given. The researcher then left the room for 15 minutes.
Some children ate the marshmallow the moment the researcher left the room while others tried to fight the temptation by scooting, bouncing, and wiggling in their chairs; unfortunately, some eventually gave in and only a few of the children were able to wait for 15 minutes. The children were then tracked for more than 40 years and follow up studies were conducted. Interestingly, as compared to the children who could not wait, those who were able to delay gratification had better academic performances, responses to stress, social skills, and other facets of life. Moreover, those who were able to wait for the second marshmallow were less likely to abuse drugs and to become obese. They had higher levels in life measures which were crucial in being successful. Generally, good things indeed came to those who waited.