June 13, 2012

"We should give marshmallows to every kindergartner."

"We should say, 'You see this marshmallow? You don’t have to eat it. You can wait. Here’s how."
When [Professor Walter Mischel] and his colleagues taught children a simple set of mental tricks—such as pretending that the candy is only a picture, surrounded by an imaginary frame—he dramatically improved their self-control. The kids who hadn’t been able to wait sixty seconds could now wait fifteen minutes. “All I’ve done is given them some tips from their mental user manual,” Mischel says. “Once you realize that will power is just a matter of learning how to control your attention and thoughts, you can really begin to increase it.”
Self-control. Learn it. Teach it.

25 comments:

LordSomber said...

When did parents stop teaching this?

glenn said...

But ... but. Nooooo, that's just not fair because like some kids will be better at it than others and they'll do better in life and it's just not faaaiiirr.

Sulks, eats his marshmallow and all the uneaten ones belonging to those silly self controllers.

Patrick said...

When my middle son was 6, he took part in a research study. Among the tasks was leaving him in a room with a bowl of 3 M & M's. He was told that he could eat them, but that if he waited until the researcher returned, he could get the whole package. I watched him on a video feed. He sat there, fiddled with the M & M's, and did everything he could to not look at the M & M's. The researcher returned, and my son had managed to not eat them.

He still shows some pretty good self control.

t-man said...

How did this heresy get past the censors:

Mischel took young children from both ethnic groups and offered them a simple choice: they could have a miniature chocolate bar right away or, if they waited a few days, they could get a much bigger chocolate bar. Mischel’s results failed to justify the stereotypes—other variables, such as whether or not the children lived with their father, turned out to be much more important—but they did get him interested in the question of delayed gratification.

traditionalguy said...

Another deep subject. Is the theme today drilling deeper...fracking, then thinking disciplines, and now Free Will which is the deepest issue of them all.

Eating together is apropos. Waiting on everyone else to came to the table and sharing a blessing of the food is a traditional lesson in self discipline instituted in God given covenants, such as passover service and New Testament Communion service.

But Beer and Brats is not under discipline since a hot brat needs immediate eating.

ndspinelli said...

What we all are fighting vis a vis food is a culture that bombards you w/ mass quantities of it. Just look @ the fucking bagel. Sometime in the 70's/80's they got twice as big, as have many people!

Teaching some kids the concept of delayed gratification is very difficult. But iot is the duty of every parent to keep trying.

Smilin' Jack said...

Self-control. Learn it. Teach it.

Why bother? Just let Bloomberg and his ilk control you.

edutcher said...

My mother found, "No, it'll spoil your supper", every bit as effective.

Unfortunately, a couple of generations raised on "If it feels good, do it" have lost this simple concept.

Matthew Sablan said...

We could also not tempt children with free marshmallows.

Mmm... free marshmallows.

jvermeer51 said...

One of the main goals of liberalism is make people feel they are helpless: helpless before their hormones, their food, helpless economically, helpless to chart their own life. If you're helpless, then you need government to take care of you. And there are lots of Harvard grads just waiting to take care of you. If you think you're more rather than less in control of your life, you tell the government busybody to shove it. One of the ironies of the Obama campaign was the slogan about hope. If you actually have hope, you don't need Obama.

ndspinelli said...

Two great New Yorker links Althouse, good to see you not just using Drudge. Thanks.

When we would go on vacations to Saratoga and Cape Cod, my old man would always time just how short the Mass was @ resort towns. His favorite priest was one in Eastham, Ma. who would have you out in under 25 minutes. So, I understand summer/vacation mode.

lemondog said...

Did Craig become a government employee, perhaps even a congresscritter?

“At a certain point, it must have occurred to me that I was all by myself,” he recalls. “And so I just started taking all the candy.” According to Craig, he was also tested with little plastic toys—he could have a second one if he held out—and he broke into the desk, where he figured there would be additional toys. “I took everything I could,” he says. “I cleaned them out.

rhhardin said...

Down stay.

paul a'barge said...

Maybe someone can use these techniques to teach Lib-tards self control.

Crunchy Frog said...

My mother found, "No, it'll spoil your supper", every bit as effective.

My mom tried that too.

Bitch was lying. Supper was still as fresh after I ate a snack as before.

Dan in Philly said...

I have heard about this study so long I'm beginning to suspect it's full of crap.

Dan in Philly said...

What about the kids who didn't eat the marshmellow, and then there was a fire drill and they never got their extra ones? Bet they felt pretty stupid.

The moral of this is delayed gratifiation may or may not have a greater reward down the road, but being greedy pays off right now, and that has to count for something.

Blue@9 said...

I didn't eat the marshmallow because my parents told me not to. And my parents were god-like figures to me (power of life and death and all that), so yeah, no mental tricks needed.

stlgretchen said...

Is this the antithesis of learning innate self-control?

http://www.missourieducationwatchdog.com/2012/06/twinkle-teachers-demand-personal.html

n.n said...

The greatest challenge most people experience during their life is to understand their own mental and physical function.

There is something else to consider. The extent of liberty is directly related to a population's ability to practice self-control and self-moderation in general.

EDH said...

As if having genitals within one's own reach isn't enough!

AllieOop said...

As far as obesity and delayed gratification, there are far more things going wrong than lack of self control. Powerful hormones, insulin, ghrelin, leptin are all at play. When one's metabolism is deranged, as it is in those with diabetes and metabolic syndrome, simply saying use delayed gratification and self control is meaningless.

Hunger signals in these individuals are not the same as in people with normal metabolisms. Teaching kids delayed gratification is great, will serve them well, unless their bodies betray them later in life.

glenn said...

And I hid in the bathroom during the fire drill and got all the marshmallows. Then I sued the school district for letting me eat all the marshmallows.

ndspinelli said...

Well Allie, delayed gratification has many more applications than just food. With a child food is one of the few concepts they can understand to help teach this laudable quality.

AllieOop said...

Yes Spinelli, I agree, what's your point? It's something I addressed because of a comment about overeating upthread.