Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Resist the Lure of Instant Gratification

In the late 1960s Stanford conducted an experiment on preschool kids to see if they can resist the lure of gratifying objects. This experiments purpose was to test the will and discipline of children, when they are faced with things they really want. In this experiment four year old children were put into a room, and plate of marshmallows was put in front of them. The researcher explained to the child that if they resist the temptation of eating the marshmallow for 15 minutes that they will be able to receive two marshmallows. In the experiment while some of the children could not resist eating the marshmallow, their were also kids who used certain ways of avoiding the temptation by looking away, as well as covering their eyes. The study concluded by the researchers that children who avoided he gratification of eating the marshmallow were more likely to avoid drug and behavior problems when they become teenagers.

Rizwan Khan


  1. This was a simple yet great study! I had associated the study with addictions even before you stated that at the very end. I do believe that more studies with preschoolers and elementary school age children would be very beneficial. If one was able to identify those who can resist temptation verse those who possessed avoidance skills we as a society would have intervention plans in place at earlier ages. Thank you for an enlightening study.

  2. I heard about this study in a class I took last semester. The idea of "smaller sooner VS larger later". I think it is most interesting that the way a four year old behaves to this simple event correlates with how they will respond to other temptations in the future as adults. I feel bad for the children I may have one day, I am going to be performing experiments like this one and others I have learned about in college on them, without them even knowing. Is that wrong?