|The marshmallow test|
This is a psychological experiment about people’s capacity to achieve their goals -- in their work and in their life.
Imagine that you're 4 years old, and participating in a little experiment. A friendly adult welcomes you into a room and sits you in front of a marshmallow. "This is for you," she says. "Before we start , I have to do something down the hall. You can eat the marshmallow any time you like. But if you wait until I get back, I'll give you two marshmallows." The researcher leaves the room. It's just you, and that marshmallow.
Children react differently to this situation. Some grab and gobble the marshmallow by the time the door closes behind the researcher. Others seem fixated on it -- looking, smelling, touching -- but hold back from eating it. Others take steps to distract themselves -- singing, walking around, listening by the door.
Black-out. Lights up -- fourteen years later. You and hundreds of other kids who took the marshmallow test are tracked down by psychologist Walter Mischel, who conducted the original experiment at Stanford and is now a colleague of mine at Columbia.
The findings are dramatic. The youngsters who, at four, had waited to win the second marshmallow, tended to be rate high on the skills that make for success -- in school, at work, in life. They had many of the "habits of successful people" -- confidence, persistence, capacity to cope with frustration.
On the other hand, the one-third who had wolfed the marshmallow, had a different overall profile. They had trouble subordinating immediate impulses to achieve long-range goals. When it was time to study for the big test, they tended to get distracted into listening to a favourite TV programs.
The character traits highlighted by The Marshmallow Test persist in adult life. They effect our performance in every area. Once you start looking for them, it's easy to spot the "marshmallows" in our professional -- and personal -- lives. They are the activities which give us immediate gratification -- but undermine longer-range benefits.
Do you think you would have eaten the marshmallow?
(extracted from an article by Ronald Gross)
The Marshmallow Test
Ok, sit in that chair.
Alright, here’s the deal. Marshmallow for you. You can either wait, and I'll give you another one if you wait, or... you can eat it now.
When I come back, I'll give you tw... another, so then you have two.
But stay in here, and stay in the chair till I come back, ok?
I'm gonna go do something and then I'll come back.
It smells yummy.
Ah, it smells really good.
Uh, it's up to you, you can have it now or you can wait. Ok?
I'll be back. Stay in the chair, ok? Ok.
Alright, 'cause I'm gonna leave and then I'll come back, ok? So you can either eat it right now or you can wait, either way, ok?
How d'you do? Did you do good? You did?
You wouldn't eat, didn’t you? Yeah. Should I ++++ and give you another one? Ok, now you can have both.
You may eat 'em.
THE DEAL= An agreement, especially one that is mutually beneficial. This would be a common conversation:
- Ok, you help me with this and tomorrow I'll pay for the cinema. Have you got a deal?
- Alright. Deal.
MARSHMALLOW= /mɑ:*ʃmæləʊ/ A very light soft sweet spongy food children simply love (see picture here).
EITHER... OR...= /aɪðə*/ or /i:ðə*/ (especially in AmE) sed to show two different possibilities (you can choose one option or the other, but not both).
I'M GONNA GO DO SOMETHING= (coll.) I'm going to go to do something. It is common in to use GO + infinitive without to in American English and also, sometimes, in conversational British English.
YUMMY= Something yummy is delicious to eat. You can say that something is yummy (adj) or you can use it as an expression when eating food you like a lot: "Mmm, yummy!".
IT'S UP TO YOU= It’s your decision.
EITHER WAY= You have both options, you can choose any of them.
HOW D'YOU DO?= How did you do? (we don’t usually write it, but when speaking we can use D as contraction of DO or sometimes DID).
YOU WOULDN'T EAT= You refused to eat, you didn't want to eat. In Old English the verb WILL had the same meaning as WANT, and WOULD was its past tense. In modern English we can use it to mark future time, but we often use it with its original meaning of "want".
- Will you come to my party? = do you want to come to my party.
- I wanted her to show me the letter but she wouldn’t = but she didn’t want to.
- He’s not willing to do it= he doesn’t want to do it (“willing” here is an adjective).
YOU WOULDN’T EAT, DIDN’T YOU?= Well, as you can see with this question tag, people don’t always speak grammatically correct.
EAT ‘EM= Eat them (coll)