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Delayed Gratification: Walter Mischel

A look into the implications of self regulation and adult success. Youtube videos were taken from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yo4WF3cSd9Q and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QX_oy9614HQ. Photo of Walter Mischel taken from Columbia University.
by

Alexandra Cohn

on 20 September 2012

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Transcript of Delayed Gratification: Walter Mischel

so you're at a bar and a guy sits next to you and says, Hey I'm going to give you a million dollars. You can just have it. Take it now, no questions asked. BUT if you can wait 10 years without spending a single dime, you can have another million dollars. that's a total of two million dollars, if you can wait 10 years. What do you do?
Be honest.
Think about the implications.
A million dollars. Right this second.
Discuss. Think you have your answer?
Cool. Now let's see how some real kids
dealt with a similar situation. While this isn't the original study,
the "Marshmallow Experiment" and it's now
famous results were conducted in the 1960's by
Walter Mischel. He gave each child a marshmallow
and told them that they could have
the marshmallow, but if they waited
until he finished his "errand",
they could have two Now here's where it gets cool. He followed these kids through high school. The results were incredible. The children who waited.... "were more positive, self motivated, persistent in the face of difficulties", and most importantly The children who couldn't wait... "had more difficulty in stressful situations, were more stubborn, indecisive, mistrustful, had a harder time keeping friendships" They also scored an average of 210 point higher on the SAT's. able to delay gratification Okay, okay, you would wait for the two million. I get it. But if I told you that I would give you $10 today
and $11 tomorrow, would your answer change?

Go ahead. Discuss it again. What did you think? Were you surprised by the results? What did you notice? (don't worry, we'll watch it again
when you know what to look for) Okay, now that's pretty cool, but I'm guessing you're wondering about this whole delayed gratification thing and why you should care. Fair question. Okay, let's first talk about
the guy who made this all possible. This is Walter Mischel. He's a psychologist and professor at Columbia University. He specializes in personality structure, process and development. He is also currently shaping our knowledge and ideas about self control. He believes that self control might not be as
up to us as we tend to believe. Those kids that he studied from age 4-18?
He also followed them beyond that.
He's following their kids too. What he's finding is that there are in fact
some genetic factors involved in self regulation. But here's the good news for us as teachers: Many of the factors that help kids be successful
in delayed gratification can be taught. Let's watch one more video.
This time I want you to notice a few things.
Using the handout that's going around now,
make some observations.
Watch specific children. Watch what they do.
We'll share our results after the video. Let's talk about your findings. Questions?
Comments? Here are some places you can go to find out more about self control, delayed gratification, and teaching these things to kids: Some other fun facts about Walter Mischel:
He studies poetry and studio art in college before becoming fascinated with personality development, specifically ink blot tests
The Marshmallow Test follow up was actually an accident
He almost didn't become a psychologist because his families business is umbrella making
His first study was on the psychology of "spirit possession" The "distraction" factor that many of
you noticed is KEY in being able to delay gratification and get the second marshmallow. We've all probably met a 4 year old. We know how hard this would be for them. The trick for a 4 year old isn't to
try to wait for the adult to come back
so they can get their second marshmallow. It's to forget that the marshmallow even exists. In adulthood, this manifests in a very different way. Metacognition: thinking about your thinking http://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133629477/for-kids-self-control-factors-into-future-success http://www.columbia.edu/cu/psychology/indiv_pages/MischelNewYorker09.pdf http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/03/08/reducing-classroom-problems-by-teaching-kids-self-control/11933.html http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.westminstercollege.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=11205ee0-5be8-4b29-ab18-2a575db0200e%40sessionmgr112&vid=11&hid=106 Another huge factor
in the development of
self regulation? Creative play. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=76838288&ps=rs
Full transcript