"Revisiting the Marshmallow Test: A Conceptual Replication Investigating Links Between Early Gratification Delay and Later Outcomes"
Alumnus Tyler Watts, Distinguished Professor Greg Duncan, and Education Sciences major Haonan Quan publish in the May 2018 issue of Psychological Science: "Revisiting the Marshmallow Test: A Conceptual Replication Investigating Links Between Early Gratification Delay and Later Outcomes."
We replicated and extended Shoda, Mischel, and Peake’s (1990) famous “marshmallow” study, which showed strong bivariate correlations between a child’s ability to delay gratification just before entering school and both adolescent achievement and socioemotional behaviors. Concentrating on children whose mothers had not completed college, we found that an additional minute waited at age 4 predicted a gain of approximately 1/10th of a SD in age-15 achievement. But this bivariate correlation was only half the size of those reported in the original studies, and was reduced by two-thirds in the presence of controls for family background, early cognitive ability, and the home environment. Most of the variation in adolescent achievement came from being able to wait at least 20 seconds. Associations between delay time and age-15 measures of behavioral outcomes were much smaller and rarely statistically significant.
Watts, T., Duncan, G., & Quan, H. (2018). Revisiting the marshmallow test: A conceptual replication investigating links between early gratification delay and later outcomes. Psychological Science. DOI: 10.1177/0956797618761661