Parenting Bulletin    
Recent News |  Archives |  Tags |  Newsletter |  Message Board/Forum |  About |  Links |  Subscribe to ParentingBulletin.com RSS Feed Subscribe


More Articles
Improvements in fuel cell designImprovements in fuel cell design

Rediscovering Venus to find faraway earths

Archaeologists discover bronze remains of Iron Age chariot

Researchers resolve the Karakoram glacier anomaly, a cold case of climate science

Fish tale: New study evaluates antibiotic content in farm-raised fishFish tale: New study evaluates antibiotic content in farm-raised fish

New 3-D display technology promises greater energy efficiencyNew 3-D display technology promises greater energy efficiency

Researchers break nano barrier to engineer the first protein microfiberResearchers break nano barrier to engineer the first protein microfiber

Magnetic mirrors enable new technologies by reflecting light in uncanny ways

Structure of an iron-transport protein revealedStructure of an iron-transport protein revealed

First step: From human cells to tissue-engineered esophagusFirst step: From human cells to tissue-engineered esophagus

Lift weights, improve your memory

Spiders: Survival of the fittest group

Autophagy helps fast track stem cell activationAutophagy helps fast track stem cell activation

Myelin vital for learning new practical skillsMyelin vital for learning new practical skills

More physical activity improved school performanceMore physical activity improved school performance

Around the world in 400,000 years: The journey of the red foxAround the world in 400,000 years: The journey of the red fox

Engineering new vehicle powertrainsEngineering new vehicle powertrains

Active aging is much more than exerciseActive aging is much more than exercise

Study: New device can slow, reverse heart failureStudy: New device can slow, reverse heart failure

Are the world's religions ready for ET?Are the world's religions ready for ET?

Gut bacteria, artificial sweeteners and glucose intoleranceGut bacteria, artificial sweeteners and glucose intolerance

Recreating the stripe patterns found in animals by engineering synthetic gene networksRecreating the stripe patterns found in animals by engineering synthetic gene networks

Laying the groundwork for data-driven scienceLaying the groundwork for data-driven science

Nature's designs inspire research into new light-based technologiesNature's designs inspire research into new light-based technologies

Missing piece found to help solve concussion puzzleMissing piece found to help solve concussion puzzle

Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'Biologists delay the aging process by 'remote control'

Geography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economyGeography matters: Model predicts how local 'shocks' influence U.S. economy

Identified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonationIdentified for the first time what kind of explosive has been used after the detonation

Copied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithmsCopied from nature: Detecting software errors via genetic algorithms

Penn research: Quitting marshmallow test can be a rational decision (4/4/2013)

<
Tags:
self control

A psychological experiment known as "the marshmallow test" has captured the public's imagination as a marker of self control and even as a predictor of future success. This test shows how well children can delay gratification, a trait that has been shown to be as important to scholastic performance as traditional IQ.

New research from University of Pennsylvania psychologists suggests, however, that changing one's mind about delaying gratification can be a rational decision in situations when the timing of the payoff is uncertain.

The research was conducted by assistant professor Joseph Kable and postdoctoral researcher Joseph McGuire, both of the Department of Psychology in Penn's School of Arts and Sciences.

The study was published in the journal Psychological Review.

In the classic marshmallow test, researchers give children a choice between one marshmallow and two. After the children enthusiastically choose two, the experimenter says that they need to leave for "a few minutes" or "a little while." The children are also told that, if they can hold off eating the one marshmallow until the researcher returns, they can have the two marshmallows they prefer. With the children left alone in the room, hidden cameras track how long they resist temptation. Most try to wait but end up caving within a few minutes.

"The kids' responses seem illogical - if you decided to wait in the first place, why wouldn't you wait the whole way through?" Kable said.

This behavior was an intriguing puzzle for Kable; he studies how people make value-based decisions, especially when they require comparing the value of something in the present with something else in the future. But, in conducting his own variants of the marshmallow test, he found that a key fact had been glossed over in both popular and academic discussions: the children don't know how long they will have to wait.

"I didn't even know that there was uncertainty in the marshmallow test until we started trying to do that type of experiment ourselves on adults and weren't getting any interesting behavior," Kable said. "That the kids don't know how long it's going to be until the researcher returns changes the entire decision problem!"

This confusion may stem from the explanations provided for children's decisions in the marshmallow test. Some of the researchers who have employed the marshmallow test and its variants have hypothesized that participants' decision to eat the marshmallow could be attributed to a strong impulse overriding the original decision to wait, or that the ability to wait was drawing on a reserve of self control that is depleted over time. Since these hypotheses make the same predictions even when there is no uncertainty, the uncertainty was often downplayed.

Kable and McGuire's analysis of data from earlier marshmallow-test studies showed problems for these hypotheses, however. If reversing the decision to wait was a function of the wearing down of self control, the time at which children eat the first marshmallow should be clustered in the middle or towards the end of the waiting period. Instead, children who gave up waiting tended to do so within the first few minutes.

After this analysis, Kable and McGuire did their own survey-based research to see how people estimate the lengths of waiting times in different situations.

The researchers asked participants to imagine themselves in a variety of scenarios, such as watching a movie, practicing the piano or trying to lose weight. Participants were told the amount of time they had been at the activity and were asked to respond how long they thought it would be until they reached their goal or the end.

The results showed a marked difference between the scenario with a relatively well-defined length and those that were more ambiguous.

"Our intuition is that when we are waiting for something, the longer we wait the closer and closer we get to that thing, which is what we see when we ask people about familiar things, like how long a movie will last," Kable says. "But what we've found is that, if you don't know anything about when the outcome will occur, the longer you wait the more you think you're getting farther and farther away from that outcome."

While the marshmallow test remains a good predictor of who is better or worse at delaying gratification, Kable's research suggests the mechanism behind that ability needs to be reinterpreted. It may also suggest some tools and techniques people can use to improve self control, or at least become aware of situations where delaying gratification will be particularly challenging.

"This is exciting to us because it suggests a way to get people to persist to the end," Kable said. "Your previous experience and your expectations can change your behavior, so you need to give them experiences that provide them with the right kinds of expectations."

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the University of Pennsylvania

Post Comments:

Search
New Articles
Certain parenting tactics could lead to materialistic attitudes in adulthoodCertain parenting tactics could lead to materialistic attitudes in adulthood

Even expectant dads experience prenatal hormone changes

A 2-minute delay in cutting the umbilical cord leads to a better development of newborns

Study finds low weight gain in pregnant women reduces male fetal survivalStudy finds low weight gain in pregnant women reduces male fetal survival

Prenatal exposure to common household chemicals linked with substantial drop in child IQ

Are you helping your toddler's aggressive behavior?

Punishing kids for lying just doesn't work

Higher birth weight indicates better performance in school

Are the benefits of breast milk stimulant worth the risk?

Many chest X-rays in children are unnecessaryMany chest X-rays in children are unnecessary

Why does physical activity during childhood matter?

Heavier newborns show academic edge in school

Why don't children belong to the clean plate club?Why don't children belong to the clean plate club?

New study examines the effect of timing of folic acid supplementation during pregnancy

Full-day preschool linked with increased school readiness compared with part-day



Archives
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010




Science Friends
Agricultural Science
Astronomy News
Biology News
Biomimicry Science
Cognitive Research
Chemistry News
Tissue Engineering
Cancer Research
Cybernetics Research
Electonics Research
Forensics Report
Fossil News
Genetic Archaeology
Genetics News
Geology News
Nanotech News
Microbiology Research
Physics News
  Archives |  Submit News |  Advertise With Us |  Contact Us |  Links
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. All contents © 2000 - 2019 ParentingBulletin.com. All rights reserved.