Radio Boston Radio Boston

Support the news

Could The Results Of The Famous 'Marshmallow Test' Be Wrong?08:02

(Richard Drew/AP)
(Richard Drew/AP)
This article is more than 2 years old.

The "Marshmallow Test" is among the most famous experiments in psychology. The study forces a child to make a critical choice between eating one marshmallow immediately, or waiting and delaying their gratification -- for two marshmallows.

Conceived by psychologist Walter Michel back in the 1960s, it was first tested on over 500 preschoolers at Stanford University. According to the initial results, the kids who were able to wait had more success as teens and adults with higher SAT scores, lower BMIs and more control over their emotions.

But according to a redo of the experiment published in the journal Psychological Science, the results of the original test could be wrong.


Tyler Watts, research assistant professor and postdoctoral scholar in the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University. He is the leader researcher on the study "Revisiting the Marshmallow Test: A Conceptual Replication Investigating Links Between Early Delay of Gratification and Later Outcomes." He tweets @tw_watts.

This segment aired on May 31, 2018.


Meghna Chakrabarti Twitter Host, On Point
Meghna Chakrabarti is the host of On Point.


Zoë Mitchell Twitter Producer and Studio Director
Zoë Mitchell is a Radio Boston producer and studio director.


Support the news