APS Past President Walter Mischel’s studies on children’s self-control are classics in the field of psychological research, and he’ll reflect on his storied career and other aspects of his life for an Inside the Psychologist’s Studio interview on March 24, 2017.
Mischel will be interviewed for the APS video series by APS Past President Mahzarin R. Banaji during the International Convention of Psychological Science (ICPS) in Vienna, Austria. The event, which will draw researchers from around the world, will showcase the latest developments in integrative science — research that draws broadly from multiple levels of analysis and in multiple branches of psychological science and other disciplines. ICPS runs from March 23–25. Mischel is cochair, with APS Secretary Gün R. Semin, of the Steering Committee for the Integrative Science Initiative, of which ICPS is a part.
Mischel’s studies in childhood self-control, known popularly as “the marshmallow tests,” are among the most famous and impactful experiments in the history of psychological science. In the 50 years since he tested children’s ability to delay eating a single marshmallow so they could have two marshmallows later, Mischel has documented correlations between self-discipline and life outcomes ranging from educational attainment to body-mass index. Follow-ups with the original participants of the marshmallow experiments also reveal important differences in cognitive and neural mechanisms linked with their self-control over the life course.
Mischel’s findings revolutionized the field of personality psychology and sparked the development of new methods and models to study individual differences in social behavior. He is an APS William James Fellow and he received the Grawemeyer Award in Psychology in 2011. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2004 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991.