13 April 2009

EQ and the Marshmallow Test

Deferred gratification or delayed gratification is the ability to wait in order to obtain something that one wants. This personality trait is important for life success.

In Daniel Goleman's book “Emotional Intelligence," he describes the concept of the EQ (Emotional Quotient). EQ is similar in many respects to IQ; however, EQ is believed to be a better determinant of success in relating, building, and maintaining relationships with others over the course of a person's life.People who lack this trait are said to need instant gratification and may suffer from poor impulse control.

Impulse control disorder is a set of psychiatric disorders including (hot-headedness), kleptomania (stealing), pathological gambling, pyromania (fire-starting), trichotillomania (pulling one's hair out) and dermatillomania (skin picking). Impulse control disorders are considered to be part of the obsessive-compulsive disorder spectrum.

The onset of these disorders usually occurs between the ages of 7 and 15. Impulsivity, the key feature of these disorders, can be thought of as seeking a small, short term gain at the expense of a large, long term loss. Those with the disorder repeatedly demonstrate failure to resist their behavioral impetuosity. The essence of emotional self-regulation is the ability to control one's impulses in the service of goal.

The marshmallow experiment is a famous test of this concept conducted by Walter Mischel at Stanford University and discussed by Daniel Goleman in his popular work. In the 1960s, a group of four-year olds were given a marshmallow and promised another, only if they could wait 20 minutes before eating the first one. Some children could wait and others could not.

The researchers then followed the progress of each child into adolescence, and demonstrated that those with the ability to wait were better adjusted and more dependable (determined via surveys of their parents and teachers), and scored an average of 210 points higher on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.

The marshmallow test has been found to be a remarkable predictor in how successful the children will be at establishing and achieving goals. The test is essentially a way of measuring if the child is capable of understanding consequences and delaying gratification for a future reward.

The test starts with the interviewer and the child sitting at a table. The interviewer offers the child a marshmallow that they can have immediately, or if they can wait for 15 minutes they will be rewarded with an extra marshmallow. The interviewer then gets a call and has to leave the room, again explaining that if the child waits for their return they will be rewarded with a second marshmallow, but they are free to have the marshmallow in front of them at anytime. If they do take the marshmallow in front of them they will not get the second marshmallow, if they wait they will be rewarded with two.

This simple test has been a great predictor in determining how successful children will be in later life. Those children that are able to understand the concept of delayed gratification, and wait for the second marshmallow, tend to be more goal oriented. The children that act impulsively and eat the first marshmallow tend to be impulsive with less understanding of future reward.

 

 

 

Sources:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impulse_control_disorder
http://klondikeconsulting.com/blog/?p=24
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deferred_gratification
 

11 comments:

Lexiwexi Leomo said...

I would fail that test because I do not like marshmallows. And would eat it immediately for fear of getting a new one! hahaha

rah oibas said...

Indeed, the marshmallow test has been subject of many criticisms as to its methodology. A variation of this test is that before a kid gets a "reward," he first has to finish a puzzle.

I hate marshmallows, too. :D

Lexiwexi Leomo said...

apir! we could hate marshmallows together! add mo na ako sa Y!M oi

daniel john said...

hehehe form the i hate marshmallow club!Ü totoo kaya ito?

daniel john said...

hehehe mag form kayo ng group. the i hate marshmallow club! hahaha peaceÜ totoo kaya ito?

Lexiwexi Leomo said...

sasama ka ba sa group kung sakali?

rah oibas said...

i hate clowns too. Want to kill all clowns.

Lexiwexi Leomo said...

me too. maybe i shall just exempt krusty.

when I see a clown, i go berserk.

daniel john said...

mallows are cool for me.. minsan nakakatako ako sa clowns lalo na pag madilim... mwahahahaha =D

Gulivia Aservonta said...

Meet Your Perfect Love Near Now!

Gulivia Aservonta said...

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