In this short talk from TED U, Joachim de Posada shares a landmark experiment on delayed gratification — and how it can predict future success. With priceless videos of kids trying their hardest not to eat the marshmallow.
Almost everyone, everyday, practices delay of gratification—whether deciding to skip dessert in order to lose weight or give up smoking in order to live longer. The ability to delay gratification is often a sign of emotional and social maturity. Young children, for example, find it more difficult to delay gratification than older children. A study at Stanford showed that when kindergardeners were offered one marshmallow and were told to wait for 15 minutes and if they did they would get two marshmallows, 72% chose to eat the marshmallow. This number decreased to 67% among first and second graders and 49% for third and fourth graders. By the fifth and sixth graders it had fallen to 38%, nearly half the rate for kindergartners.