One Marshmallow or Two?
Jenny Diski · The Marshmallow Test
They've done a new version of a 1960s Stanford experiment. Sit a small child in a room with a marshmallow on a plate, and tell them that if they stay sitting in front of it and don't eat it, they will get a second marshmallow when the experimenter comes back. Then leave the room and make sure a camera is trained on the kids.
Share their pain:
It begins to look like a test of how close you can get it to the inside of you, or how much of it you can actually put into your mouth, while still trying for the second marshmallow. One small girl, who is clearly hyper-conflicted, wins this contest hands down, but is in denial about what the experimenter is going to make of the resulting mess she puts back on the plate. She deserves not one, but two extra marshmallows, in my opinion, but then I rejoice in the barefaced challenge to authority.
Follow-ups from the original test have suggested that those who didn't eat the marshmallow (who seem astonishingly to be in the majority in this clip) were more successful in later life than those who couldn't wait. Something about strategy, realpolitik, and the old dreary wisdom that says maturity is about delayed gratification. Well, fair enough, control freaks, you may have a better job and more pay, have a hunkier husband and prize-winning children, and no doubt a pedigree pussy if you didn't eat the first marshmallow and got the second one, too. But consider this as you stuff them both into your face: those who gobble the first marshmallow on the plate and let the second one go hang, not only forever get their pleasure when they want it and subvert the idiot rules life's experimenters lay down, but they're thinner.
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