Mind Over Marshmallows


karenWay back in March 2013, I posted “Are We the Cursed Experts?”  This highlighted our often unrecognized inability to remember what it’s like to NOT know what we know. After reading The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control by Walter Mischel, I’m convinced that the gap in expertise between students and instructors may not be confined to the knowledge bases of our disciplines.f0304a3474c2979b7216b5692c36b6c7

In The Marshmallow Test, Mischel reviews the now-famous series of experiments that revealed differences in how young children react when confronted with an agonizing choice: One treat now, or two treats if you can delay eating until the experimenter returns to the room. In the book, Mischel discusses many variations and observations of the test beyond what has been covered in TV news shows. Still, the central questions about the origins of the ability to delay gratification—and, critically, whether these can be learned or manipulated—are the focus of…

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