What Were the Results of the Marshmallow Test?

The results of the Marshmallow Test by psychologist Walter Mischel showed that children who could delay instant gratification were more likely to complete college and have better paying jobs as adults than those who demonstrated a lesser degree of self-control. Mischel began this study in the 1960s.

The original experimental studies of self-control known as the Marshmallow Test were conducted on preschool children by Dr. Mischel when he was on the faculty at Stanford University. He and his research team, as well as others in collaboration with them, have followed up on those test subjects decades later.

During the past fifty years, Dr. Mischel also conducted many other experimental studies on aspects of the so-called executive function. He has seen that the psychology of self-control is very similar among people of diverse social groups and in different nations and cultures. He advised the Sesame Street children's educational program on creating content to both teach children about self-control and motivate them to practice and learn these skills. He has collaborated with other psychologists on designing experiments, advised educational programs and published articles on his studies. Results have repeatedly shown how flexible children are, how fast they can learn self-control and how valuable it is to successful education.