We Didn’t Eat the Marshmallow. The Marshmallow Ate Us

Michael Bourne, Hack Educa, Jan 13, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Pretty good post that outlines and examines the merit of the famous marshmallow experiment (kids are put in a room and told they can eat one now or two later - follow-yup study shows the kids who deferred gratification proved to be much more successful in later life). The experiment is not nothing, however, it is so narrowly focused, has so few subjects, and allows so many alternative explanations, that we cannot simply allow the simple conclusion. "But that isn’t what we want to hear. We want the instant gratification of an easy answer. We want to hear that character traits can be taught like algebra and geometry and that if you can resist eating a marshmallow at 4, you possess the secret to a successful life."

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