Have you heard of The Marshmallow Study? It’s a classic experiment in self-control. All kinds of longitudinal research was conducted on those who weren’t able to “control themselves” and wait for the second marshmallow. In fact, there was even a movie that adapted the crux of the marshmallow experiment and used it as part of the plot.
A little over a week ago, the University of Rochester published some research that ‘updates’ the marshmallow experiment. I have to say, I’m quite pleased with the findings. Previously, it was thought that the participant’s ability to control themselves from eating the marshmallow in front of them and hold out for the second marshmallow was an indication that the participant may be more likely to succeed in the future. With this updated addendum, if you will, it now seems that there is more to the experiment than simply self-control.
When juxtaposed, my interpretation of the results of the original experiment from 1972 and the one discussed in the video is, quite simply: context matters.