Self Control and the Marshmallow Test

40 years ago researchers conducted a simple but brilliant test on children for self control and delayed gratification. A demonstration of the test can be seen here.

A Time magazine summary of the implications of the marshmellow test.

Essentially researchers found that self controlled children eventually demonstrated higher levels of achievement in adulthood including lower levels of obesity, higher SAT scores, better financial functioning and so forth. Additional studies have indicated that self control appears to have much to do with a part of the brain, basal ganglia, that can be taught and trained to improve self control.

If you are interested in developing your willpower and strengthening your self control a good place to start is by reading the book “The Willpower Instinct” by Kelly McGonigal.

For parents: A thought provoking story and article on NPR, “For Kids, Self-control Factors into Future Success” is worth reading and listening to.

For those that want to read the original research article that prompted the NPR story above here is the link.

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