Friday, January 1, 2016

Our Marshmallow Year

Welcome to the New Year. We celebrate endings and beginnings and things fresh and new.  We make resolutions for new beginnings.

So it is time to consider our resolve, according to PBS last night.  They pointed to the landmark study  - the Stanford marshmallow experiment.  
It was a series of studies on delayed gratification in the late 1960s and early 1970s led by psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University. In these studies, a child was offered a choice between one small reward provided immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period, approximately 15 minutes, during which the tester left the room and then returned. In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment body mass index, and other life measures. It has been repeated over and over again as the decades passed.  Here's a video of that 15 minutes for a number of the tiny participants.

So our ability to make and not break our New Year's Resolutions is symbolized in a marshmallow.  It would be wonderful to have a marshmallow at the New Year's table each year:  but there is no association of marshmallows with New Year's.

However, National Toasted Marshmallow Day is August 30th - so maybe that's when the resolutions that failed can become 'toast'.

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