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Thread: Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test

  1. #1

    Default Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test

    https://www.theatlantic.com/family/a...w-test/561779/

    The marshmallow test is one of the most famous pieces of social-science research: Put a marshmallow in front of a child, tell her that she can have a second one if she can go 15 minutes without eating the first one, and then leave the room. Whether she’s patient enough to double her payout is supposedly indicative of a willpower that will pay dividends down the line, at school and eventually at work. Passing the test is, to many, a promising signal of future success.

    But a new study, published last week, has cast the whole concept into doubt. The researchers—NYU’s Tyler Watts and UC Irvine’s Greg Duncan and Hoanan Quan—restaged the classic marshmallow test, which was developed by the Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel in the 1960s. Mischel and his colleagues administered the test and then tracked how children went on to fare later in life. They described the results in a 1990 study, which suggested that delayed gratification had huge benefits, including on such measures as standardized test scores.

    Watts and his colleagues were skeptical of that finding. The original results were based on studies that included fewer than 90 children—all enrolled in a preschool on Stanford’s campus. In restaging the experiment, Watts and his colleagues thus adjusted the experimental design in important ways: The researchers used a sample that was much larger—more than 900 children—and also more representative of the general population in terms of race, ethnicity, and parents’ education. The researchers also, when analyzing their test’s results, controlled for certain factors—such as the income of a child’s household—that might explain children’s ability to delay gratification and their long-term success.

    Ultimately, the new study finds limited support for the idea that being able to delay gratification leads to better outcomes. Instead, it suggests that the capacity to hold out for a second marshmallow is shaped in large part by a child’s social and economic background—and, in turn, that that background, not the ability to delay gratification, is what’s behind kids’ long-term success.

    The marshmallow test isn’t the only experimental study that has recently failed to hold up under closer scrutiny. Some scholars and journalists have gone so far to suggest that psychology is in the midst of a “replication crisis.” In the case of this new study, specifically, the failure to confirm old assumptions pointed to an important truth: that circumstances matter more in shaping children’s lives than Mischel and his colleagues seemed to appreciate.

    This new paper found that among kids whose mothers had a college degree, those who waited for a second marshmallow did no better in the long run—in terms of standardized test scores and mothers’ reports of their children’s behavior—than those who dug right in. Similarly, among kids whose mothers did not have college degrees, those who waited did no better than those who gave in to temptation, once other factors like household income and the child’s home environment at age 3 (evaluated according to a standard research measure that notes, for instance, the number of books that researchers observed in the home and how responsive mothers were to their children in the researchers’ presence) were taken into account. For those kids, self-control alone couldn’t overcome economic and social disadvantages.

    The failed replication of the marshmallow test does more than just debunk the earlier notion; it suggests other possible explanations for why poorer kids would be less motivated to wait for that second marshmallow. For them, daily life holds fewer guarantees: There might be food in the pantry today, but there might not be tomorrow, so there is a risk that comes with waiting. And even if their parents promise to buy more of a certain food, sometimes that promise gets broken out of financial necessity.

    Meanwhile, for kids who come from households headed by parents who are better educated and earn more money, it’s typically easier to delay gratification: Experience tends to tell them that adults have the resources and financial stability to keep the pantry well stocked. And even if these children don’t delay gratification, they can trust that things will all work out in the end—that even if they don’t get the second marshmallow, they can probably count on their parents to take them out for ice cream instead.

    There’s plenty of other research that sheds further light on the class dimension of the marshmallow test. The Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan and the Princeton behavioral scientist Eldar Shafir wrote a book in 2013, Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, that detailed how poverty can lead people to opt for short-term rather than long-term rewards; the state of not having enough can change the way people think about what’s available now. In other words, a second marshmallow seems irrelevant when a child has reason to believe that the first one might vanish.

    Some more-qualitative sociological research also can provide insight here. For example, Ranita Ray, a sociologist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, recently wrote a book describing how many teenagers growing up in poverty work long hours in poorly paid jobs to support themselves and their families. Yet, despite sometimes not being able to afford food, the teens still splurge on payday, buying things like McDonald’s or new clothes or hair dye. Similarly, in my own research with Brea Perry, a sociologist (and colleague of mine) at Indiana University, we found that low-income parents are more likely than more-affluent parents to give in to their kids’ requests for sweet treats.

    These findings point to the idea that poorer parents try to indulge their kids when they can, while more-affluent parents tend to make their kids wait for bigger rewards. Hair dye and sweet treats might seem frivolous, but purchases like these are often the only indulgences poor families can afford. And for poor children, indulging in a small bit of joy today can make life feel more bearable, especially when there’s no guarantee of more joy tomorrow.



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  3. #2

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    This should be included as part of our public schools' standardized testing
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  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheTexan View Post
    This should be included as part of our public schools' standardized testing
    Only if it further includes being able to roast the marshmallow over a fire. It's the only way I'll eat them. Even better is a roasted "Peep" marshmallow. Doesn't taste like chicken.
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  5. #4

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    They replicated an experiment that took almost 30 years??
    "He's talkin' to his gut like it's a person!!" -me
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  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    They replicated an experiment that took almost 30 years??
    Are you suggesting the foundation of our research is biased?

  7. #6

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    Schools are not the only sources of Learning.

    Many of the behaviors, more specifically, ones that encourage and promote Behaviors of Instant Gratification are learned from other people, both children and adults alike. How often to kids see their parents go to the store and buy something on Impulse on CREDIT? Although the child may not understand what Credit means, the idea if Immediate Gratification is taught as being acceptable because, after all, their parents know best and are doing it.

    What other sources of influence teach and encourage children to follow behaviors of Instant Gratification? TV shows? Movies? Friends? Websites? Advertisements? What other sources can you list?
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    Honest Money System , which frees the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, is the single largest contributing factor to the World's current Economic Crisis.

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  8. #7

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    tell her that she can have a second one if she can go 15 minutes without eating the first one, and then leave the room. Whether she’s patient enough to double her payout is supposedly indicative of a willpower that will pay dividends down the line, at school and eventually at work. Passing the test is, to many, a promising signal of future success.
    I would've failed. I would've eaten the marshmallow and left early. What kind of loser kid has nothing better to do than wait 15 minutes for a marshmallow? Maybe a doughnut would be worth it or even that old man candy with the caramel and white stuff but not a plain ol stinkin marshmallow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.

  9. #8

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    I WAS IN THE LIFESKILLS THREAD AND TYPED UP A WHOLE POST ABOUT WHAT I DID TODAY AND THEN I THOUGHT ABOUT MARSHMALLOWS
    AND HAD TO ASK...DO PEOPLE PRONOUNCE IT MARSHMALLOW (GOOGLE TELLS ME THAT'S THE WAY YOU SPELL IT) BUT I SAY IT, MARSHMELLOW. SO, I'M WONDERING IF I'VE BEEN SAYING IT WRONG OR IF GOOGLE IS SPELLING IT WRONG.

    IS IT MARSHMALLOW OR MARSHMELL0W?
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.



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  11. #9

  12. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    They replicated an experiment that took almost 30 years??
    Sounds like the new experiment didn't go as long.
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  13. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    Sounds like the new experiment didn't go as long.
    The scientists must have failed the marshmallow test as kids, and this is their revenge.
    "He's talkin' to his gut like it's a person!!" -me
    "dumpster diving isn't professional." - angelatc


    "Each of us must choose which course of action we should take: education, conventional political action, or even peaceful civil disobedience to bring about necessary changes. But let it not be said that we did nothing." - Ron Paul

    "Paul said "the wave of the future" is a coalition of anti-authoritarian progressive Democrats and libertarian Republicans in Congress opposed to domestic surveillance, opposed to starting new wars and in favor of ending the so-called War on Drugs."

  14. #12

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    So many factors involved. Hypothesis: delayed gratification tends to lead towards success in testing and finances.

    One study concluded yes, confirming their own hypothesis.
    Next study wants to debunk first study, because they see it as a nature vs. nurture issue, and they are on the politically correct side of wanting it to be all nurture.
    Last edited by Brian4Liberty; 06-11-2018 at 09:24 AM.
    Twitter: B4Liberty@USAB4L
    "Foreign aid is taking money from the poor people of a rich country, and giving it to the rich people of a poor country." - Ron Paul
    "Beware the Military-Industrial-Financial-Corporate-Media-Government Complex." - B4L update of General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    "Debt is the drug, Wall St. Banksters are the dealers, and politicians are the addicts." - B4L
    "Totally free immigration? I've never taken that position. I believe in national sovereignty." - Ron Paul


    The views and opinions expressed here are solely my own, and do not represent this forum or any other entities or persons.

  15. #13
    "They sell us the president the same way they sell us our clothes and our cars. They sell us every thing from youth to religion the same time they sell us our wars. I want to know who the men in the shadows are. I want to hear somebody asking them why. They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are but theyre never the ones to fight or to die." - Jackson Browne Lives In The Balance

  16. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by dannno View Post
    The scientists must have failed the marshmallow test as kids, and this is their revenge.
    They seem very desperate.

  17. #15

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    I think their parents cheat and get their kids loaded up on marshmallows before going in and giving them the Marshmallow Test. Poor kids dont have the same luxury.
    1776 > 1984

    The FAILURE of the United States Government to operate and maintian an
    Honest Money System , which frees the ordinary man from the clutches of the money manipulators, is the single largest contributing factor to the World's current Economic Crisis.

    The Elimination of Privacy is the Architecture of Genocide

    You are Ron Paul's Media!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Our central bank is not privately owned.

  18. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    I WAS IN THE LIFESKILLS THREAD AND TYPED UP A WHOLE POST ABOUT WHAT I DID TODAY AND THEN I THOUGHT ABOUT MARSHMALLOWS
    AND HAD TO ASK...DO PEOPLE PRONOUNCE IT MARSHMALLOW (GOOGLE TELLS ME THAT'S THE WAY YOU SPELL IT) BUT I SAY IT, MARSHMELLOW. SO, I'M WONDERING IF I'VE BEEN SAYING IT WRONG OR IF GOOGLE IS SPELLING IT WRONG.

    IS IT MARSHMALLOW OR MARSHMELL0W?
    MARSHMELLOW. IT'S ONE OF THOSE WORDS YA DON'T PRONOUNCE THE WAY IT'S SPELLED. SEE, THIS DICTIONARY EVEN INCLUDES A VOICE PRONOUNCING IT FOR YA-https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/marshmallow
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  20. #17

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    The marshmallow is racist.
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  21. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian4Liberty View Post
    So many factors involved. Hypothesis: deleted gratification tends to lead towards success in testing and finances.

    One study concluded yes, confirming their own hypothesis.
    Next study wants to debunk first study, because they see it as a nature vs. nurture issue, and they are on the politically correct side of wanting it to be all nurture.
    The test is flawed. Marshmellows kinda suck unless they're in hot chocolate or roasted on fire. They should've used a better treat or money. I would've stayed for money. I was rich for a kid but there's no way I would've sat there waiting for a lame marshmellow like a sucka. I had all kinds of side hustles going on. I collected cans, picked up change (on the ground, in the sofa, the car seats, and my dad let me have his at the end of the day for fetching his whiskey sour), blackmailed siblings, and I got paid for some chores. This is one of the dumber studies I've read. These people forgot what it was like to be a kid.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Paul View Post
    The intellectual battle for liberty can appear to be a lonely one at times. However, the numbers are not as important as the principles that we hold. Leonard Read always taught that "it's not a numbers game, but an ideological game." That's why it's important to continue to provide a principled philosophy as to what the role of government ought to be, despite the numbers that stare us in the face.

  22. #19

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    I dare them to try that test with teenagers and a bong
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  23. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanimal View Post
    ...I would've stayed for money. I was rich for a kid but there's no way I would've sat there waiting for a lame marshmellow like a sucka. I had all kinds of side hustles going on. I ... "picked up" change (on the ground, in the sofa, the car seats... blackmailed siblings [not surprised], and I got paid for some ​"chores"...
    Change that was left for you...
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