Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lab Rats

I read a talk on Sunday from the Priesthood Session of General Conference entitled "Continue in Patience" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. He opened by talking about an experiment done in the 1960's at Stanford University with 4 year olds and marshmallows.

The Professor placed marshmallows in front of a group of four year olds and told them they could have 1 now or wait 15 minutes and have 2, then he walked away and watched them behind a 2 way mirror.

Spence and I decided to try this for Family Home Evening. We gave Auri, Max and Warren a marshmallow on a plate, I took a picture of them, we set the timer, we told them they could eat it or wait 15 minutes and have more, then we left. The only rule we had was that if they left the room they had to take the marshmallow with them.

We walked outside around the house and watched them from the back window from behind the fence where they couldn't see us, surprisingly, Max and Warren didn't eat them. Auri ate hers when we set it on her plate, but in her defence, she is only 2, so we'll do the experiment in 2 more years. What also surprised me was that Warren was really watching out for Max, he kept telling him, "Max, DON'T DO IT!, IF YOU DON'T YOU'LL GT WAY MORE LATER!" That made me happy.

They can wait 15 minutes for a marshmallow, however, they cannot wait for 4 hours otter pops to freeze or jello to set, the perfect consistency of these sweet concoctions is irrelevant to them.

Incidentally, in the Stanford study, only 30% of the 4 year olds were able to wait the full 15 minutes and upon following the children over the years they found that the children with more patience tended to be more positive, better motivated, had higher grades, better incomes, and had healthier relationships. Maybe that's my problem, maybe I better re-think my motto of "in a sentence or less please"

This is the link the the full talk.


JAG said...

That's a good one. I think I'm gonna try it.

Kiran said...

Hill, I am so going to try this with my girls! I hope savanna would do the same as warren. You gotta have your sister's back. I remember this talk from conference.

jww said...

I have heard of this study and I thought it was so interesting--what an excellent thing to try for FHE!!