The Marshmallow Test by Walter Mischel

Even though I consider myself to be self disciplined and my own worst critic, I also marshmallow testrecognise I can be incredibly impulsive and easily be pulled off track. That’s the reason I bought this book – I thought it might offer guidance to help me control my impulsive behaviour.

I think just about everybody must have heard of the marshmallow test, but just in case you haven’t, here’s a quick overview

The Marshmallow Test was a social science experiment in the 1960s with young children. The premise was simple – you can have one marshmallow now, or, if you wait, you can have two. The children were then left on their own with a marshamllow in front of them, and observed to see what they would do. That is a very basic summary and naturally there is a more to it.

The marshmallow test raised a follow on question – would children who were able to resist temptation do better in life than those who couldn’t resist?

The book offers a summary of the tests, how they were performed, what the findings were, and what further research the tests and the findings prompted. I was also pleased to find that the research did indeed offer up learnable strategies which are presented in the book and summarised nicely in chapter 19.

I really enjoyed reading this book even though it was a little hard going at times. Not coming from a very scientific background made some of the research methodologies a little dry for me. However, that’s not to say it’s not for the lay person, because it is. I think for me there was little impatience going one (I know, ironic right,) in that I wanted to get to the strategies quickly. Nevertheless I’m glad I didn’t rush through it, because the research adds credence and validates the strategies presented.

So, if you’re looking for ways of helping you deal with your own impulsive behaviour, ways of setting yourself up for better benefits in the longer term, or if you’re just interested in the marshmallow test as a concept, or even if you just like marshmallows, then, I’d recommend giving this book a read.

walter mischelYou can buy the book on Amazon here.

You can find other work by Walter Mischel here.

You can find out more about Walter Mischel here.


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