Wednesday, July 11, 2012

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The Marshmallow Test

        You know, many people think that all the psychological mumbo jumbo about trying to predict a child's future by how they behave and all, but the thing is that the mumbo jumbo is actually true. So, they've brought this test out, called the Marshmallow Test, designed to see if a child can become a successful person or not. 

Are you up to the challenge?
        The test is simple enough. You put a kid in front of a marshmallow. He/she has to be 4 years old. They put a marshmallow in front of you, and tell you that if you wait 15 minutes, you get two marshmallows instead of one. So, if they come back and the marshmallow's still there, the kid's got an impressive amount of self-control for its age. 

You'll see, my kid will live an awesome life and - fuck.
        The self-control we're speaking of is called "executive function". Of 600 kids tested in 1980, only 30% actually refrained from eating a marshmallow. Those who waited were doing better academically. Executive function gives way for things like inhibiting impulses, sustaining attention, planning, prioritizing, etc. 

You are a failure and always will be.
        Now, the exciting part is that this can be taught and learned. It is speculated that if teachers make sure students learn about self-regulation, a higher percentage of kids can become successful later in life. A baby, for example, who learns to calm himself will basically learn how to self-regulate, according to psychologists. 

Shut the fuck up and get your whining ass to sleep.
        About half of children have poor executive function by the time they get to school, at least in the U.S., which gives teachers a hell of a problem. It induces things like ADD and hyperactivity. 

I will draw a dog with... uh... what am i doing again?
       This isn't really something that can be taught isolated from other neurological issues, but it is one that once taught, can solve a lot of problems. The thing is that those who master executive function are more successful  later in life. I think that makes it worth the trouble to check out. If your child cannot withstand the temptation of the candy, make sure he learns why it's better. 

No excuses.