It’s the eternal question: immediate satisfaction, or long-term rewards. In psychology circles, this has come to be known as the Marshmallow Test.
In the classic study from the early ’70s, a researcher asks a child to sit alone in a room with a marshmallow. The child can eat the ‘mallow right away, but if they wait 10 to 15 minutes, the researcher will return with a second treat.
Previously, researchers tested mostly western children. In June of 2017, however, German psychologists ran a test consisting of about 200 children; half western, and half non-western. The team discovered that 4-year olds from Cameroonian farming communities were better at resisting the treat than their German-born counterparts. Only 28 percent of German-born children earned the additional treat, whereas 70 percent of Cameroonian children managed to wait – 10 percent even fell asleep waiting.
The dramatic results, published in Child Development, likely come from a variety of influencing factors. Researchers plan on investigating strategies that the children used to help them wait.
There’s more stories from 2017. Check out the Best of 2017 series here