Published By: Riya Banerjee

What is this marshmallow test?

Let us talk about the power of delayed gratification

Most people find it difficult to build or break a habit. Ever wondered how few people can always ace in the task they choose to do? Want a clue? Well, the answer is not tough but we hardly accept it. Yes, it’s self control. Dr. Walter Mischel and his team call it as “delaying gratification”. But is it possible to have self control in the world of instant gratification? 4 years old children from the nursery school who attended the marshmallow test proved that it is possible.

Aren’t you curious to know how did those children make it possible and what was the outcome of the experiment? Let’s jump into the details.

What would you do if you were given a chocolate and told not to eat? Will you follow the instruction? Most of us will definitely eat it right away. Won’t we?

What if you are informed that you will be awarded with one more chocolate to worth the waiting? Will you still eat it?

The children participated in this experiment were also given such a task. Few of them could notsucceed; few children tried to hold on their sweet tooth for sometime but gave up half way. Surprisingly, very few children succeeded in delaying their gratification.

But, how could they do it?

The researchers were also wondering like us. Hence, they asked them.

Let us walk you through a few interesting answers given by the children.

When thechild was asked how he could wait longer to get the second marshmallow, he said that he imagined it as a picture and it was not possible to eat a picture.

Most of the children told that they distracted themselves from looking at the marshmallow.

The experiment was not over yet.

As the years rolled up, the children participated in the experiment grew up to their teenage and the researchers conducted a follow up study with their parents with series of questions about participants. Surprisingly, they found out that the children who could manage to wait for their double treat had better social skills, lower level of substance abuse and could manage stress in a healthy manner.The experiment clearly suggests that delaying gratification equals discipline and it leads to success.  If a 4 year old can develop self control then any of us can do.