African farmers’ kids conquer the marshmallow test | Science News


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African farmers’ kids conquer the marshmallow test

Cultural parenting styles shape how children manage self-control

7:00am, June 19, 2017
kid looking at marshmallow

WAIT FOR IT  A 4-year-old boy from a Nso farming community in Cameroon faces down a puff-puff pastry while waiting for a second treat during a battle of self-control known as the marshmallow test.

Children of Nso farmers in Cameroon know how to master the marshmallow test, which has tempted away the self-control of Western kids for decades.

In a direct comparison on this delayed gratification task, Cameroonian youngsters leave middle-class German children in the dust when challenged to resist a reachable treat while waiting for another goodie, a new study finds.

Of 76 Nso 4-year-olds, 53, or nearly 70 percent, waited 10 minutes for a second treat — a small local pastry called a puff-puff — without eating the puff-puff placed on a table in front of them, say psychologist Bettina Lamm of Osnabrück University in Germany and colleagues.

Only 35 of 125 German 4-year-olds, or 28 percent, successfully waited for their choice of a second lollipop or chocolate bar.

The study, which is the first to administer the marshmallow test to non-Western kids, shows that cultural styles

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