Around 1970, Walter Mischel launched a classic experiment. He left a succession of 4-year-olds in a room with a bell and a marshmallow. If they rang the bell, he would come back and they could eat the marshmallow. If, however, they didn't ring the bell and waited for him to come back on his own, they could then have two marshmallows.In makes you wonder about what skills should be taught in school. If delaying gratification correlates with more success in school and in life, and if it can be taught seems like it should be.
The children who waited longer went on to get higher SAT scores. They got into better colleges and had, on average, better adult outcomes. The children who rang the bell quickest were more likely to become bullies. They received worse teacher and parental evaluations 10 years on and were more likely to have drug problems at age 32.
The ability to delay gratification, like most skills, correlates with socioeconomic status and parenting styles. Children from poorer homes do much worse on delayed gratification tests than children from middle-class homes.
What works, says Jonathan Haidt, the author of "The Happiness Hypothesis," is creating stable, predictable environments for children, in which good behavior pays off — and practice. Young people who are given a series of tests that demand self-control get better at it over time.
I was reading in Happiness and Economics that education is not correlated with happiness. How strange is it that we spend all this time getting educated and yet on average it doesn't increase happiness?
I also happened to have just read the Happiness Hypothesis book mentioned, and I would highly recommend it. Lots of interesting stuff in it.
via NY Times $elect