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The Stanford Marshmallow test for a four year old

(23 Posts)
MaggieBee Sat 30-May-09 16:51:04

This is the test where you say to a four year old "would you like one marshmallow now? or two in 20 minutes?". This obviously tests ability to delay gratification and achievement and can be an indication of how well a child will apply him/herself to studying and saving and so on later in life.

WELL anyway, I asked my 7 yr old and no surprise she said, 2 in 2 minutes, but can I have the whole bag in an hour?! I said ok shuddup now we try this on the wild thing...

I explained it to him carefully, checking he understood, he nodded to confirm that he understood, and then said "one now".

What!? ran through it all again with him,,,, asked him the question again, and he still maintained that he'd prefer one NOW.

Feel a bit depressed about htat.. He's only 3 and a half mind you, so I'll repeat it in 6 months. (Only because it's interesting, I'm not hothousing him, far from it!).

Can you all go and do this test on your four year olds please and tell me what happens!

hercules1 Sat 30-May-09 16:53:21

Just asked my 5 year old and she said with a big smile - now!

MaggieBee Sat 30-May-09 16:54:10

oh that makes me feel slightly better !!

AlistairSim Sat 30-May-09 17:01:58

I tried it on my four year old.

She said "I'm a dinosaur. I only eat meat. Rooooaaaarrrrr!!!"


MaggieBee Sat 30-May-09 17:03:05

phew! thought I was raising a low-achieving quitter! grin

Twims Sat 30-May-09 17:03:48

rofl AlistairSim grin

ScummyMummy Sat 30-May-09 17:05:29

I would choose one now. Waiting is SOOOO boring. What if they were horrid and you'd waited all that time for nothing? Plus would be confident that I could persuade the marshmallow giver to give me more if they were yummy (esp if they were my mum). Perhaps your boy is just an optimist?

HuffwardlyRudge Sat 30-May-09 17:11:55

Tried it on my 3-yr-old.

After some discussion about whether the marshmallows were ducky shaped, and whether or not she would have to have her nose drops first, she opted for one now.

MaggieBee Sat 30-May-09 17:11:56

I think so Scrummy! Wishing away the next twenty minutes for the sake of 1gm of fluffed up sugar wasn't great management of his time, so he made an intellectual decision to liberate himself for the rather pointless waiting that would have been involved in choosing two marshmallows. Get mummy's silly game over with ASAP. wink

PortAndLemon Sat 30-May-09 17:46:26

I don't have any actual marshmallows to test his veracity with, but DS (4.4) is very definite that he would prefer a whole bag in an hour or, failing that, two in twenty minutes, over one now.

Horton Sat 30-May-09 18:29:07

Tried it on my nearly three year old who agreed that she'd like two but then immediately asked 'is it twenty minutes now?' and continued to ask for the next twenty minutes until I gave her the marshmallows. So I think it's fair to say that she didn't understand the question.

MaggieBee Sat 30-May-09 18:58:46

ha ha! say four peppa pigs! That's how I would express 20 minutes to my almost four year old. Everything is in units of peppa pig.

DontCallMeBaby Sat 30-May-09 19:05:29

DD (5) claims she would opt for two in 20 minutes ... but she IS in the middle of eating an enormous ice lolly, so perhaps not feeling too urgent about marshmallows.

wb Sat 30-May-09 19:10:06

Dunno about my 3 year old but I would rather have one now - a lot can happen in 20 minutes. And I'm great at saving money (its not sweet) so I wouldn't worry on that score either.

MaggieBee Sat 30-May-09 19:17:41

You're right. The whole bag could accidentally fall into Mummy Pig's mouth in 20 minutes. Who knows?

suwoo Sat 30-May-09 19:28:54

My 7 year old DD would rather have the one now. I must say, I am a bit disappointed with her response. hmm

KingCanuteIAm Sat 30-May-09 19:33:11

My 4yo said two later, but she does have a good handful of older siblings which may have honed her reasoning/bargaining skills wink

MaggieBee Sat 30-May-09 20:01:33

Maybe by 7 the test is flawed because a mere marshmallow isn't that big a deal either way.

TrinityRhino Sat 30-May-09 20:04:49

9 year old said 2 later in a flash but the just four year old said one now

dh said one now cause he doesn't like marshmallows hmm grin

MaggieBee Sat 30-May-09 20:10:02

ask your husband would he rather have one cool lager now or two in 20 minutes. wow. that's hard. i want a cool lager now.

TrinityRhino Sat 30-May-09 20:11:21

dh said one now
but he is drunk and hot grin

Horton Sat 30-May-09 21:59:46

I must say, I would rather have one glass of wine now than two in twenty minutes. Because the second one would get warm by the time I'd drunk the first and also one glass is really my limit if I don't want to embarrass myself. I have actually had one and a half glasses over the past couple of hours so I should probably go to bed.

Nighbynight Sat 30-May-09 22:58:33

How did marshmallows turn into glasses of wine??

My children are in bed, but if past behaviour is anything to go by, they would probably say "can I have 4 now?"

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