Being able to delay gratification—often considered a predictor of a child’s future success—is as much a question of environment as innate ability, a new study shows.
For the past four decades, the “marshmallow test” has served as a classic experimental measure of children’s self-control: will a preschooler eat one of the fluffy white treats now or hold out for two later?
Children who experienced reliable interactions immediately before the marshmallow task waited on average four times longer—12 versus three minutes—than youngsters in similar but unreliable situations.
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