Physicist Michio Kaku recently said the marshmallow experiment predicts success more accurately than IQ or other measurements.
The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies on delayed gratification in the late 1960s, led by psychologist Walter Mischel.
In the marshmallow experiment a child is offered two choices:
- Get one marshmallow immediately.
- Get two marshmallows if they wait for a short period – typically around 15 minutes.
Through follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who waited for the two marshmallows have a significantly higher success rate in life.
They had better academic results, were in better physical condition, had a higher income, lower divorce rates, and overall better lives.
Kaku said the experiment showed that the kids who wanted instant gratification did not want to put in the hard work to attain a better outcome.
He summarised the lesson as “Do not take the shortcuts”.
Kaku said part of the reason why the “shortcut” choice is made is because of personality, which is developed at an early age.
He added that people can be taught to work hard, however, and not select the shortcut option.