Friday, September 18, 2009

Don't think about the marshmallow...

I'm not sure which camp I would have fallen into... Oh, who am I kidding, I would have scarfed that thing down before the lady left the room.

Oh, The Temptation from Steve V on Vimeo.

An excerpt from a lengthy New Yorker article (Is the author testing whether you have self-control by reading the whole thing?) on the research study:
Instead of getting obsessed with the marshmallow—the “hot stimulus”—the patient children distracted themselves by covering their eyes, pretending to play hide-and-seek underneath the desk, or singing songs from “Sesame Street.” Their desire wasn’t defeated—it was merely forgotten. “If you’re thinking about the marshmallow and how delicious it is, then you’re going to eat it,” Mischel says. “The key is to avoid thinking about it in the first place.”

In adults, this skill is often referred to as metacognition, or thinking about thinking, and it’s what allows people to outsmart their shortcomings.
Interestingly, the study found that there was a correlation between those who had good self-control and S.A.T. results. Here's the full New Yorker article.

[via mefi]

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