Researchers aren’t sure what’s driving this willingness to delay gratification
J. Adam Fenster/Univ. of Rochester
Hold that marshmallow and don’t ask for s’more.
Some kids today wait much longer to get an extra treat in the famed marshmallow test than they did in the 1960s or even the ‘80s, researchers say. So, so much for the view that internet-savvy, smartphone-toting tykes want what they want at warp speed.
This willingness to delay gratification has recently bloomed among U.S. preschoolers from predominantly white, middle-class families, say psychologist Stephanie Carlson of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and her colleagues. Youngsters aged 3 to 5 in the 2000s waited an average of two minutes longer during the marshmallow test than children in the 1960s did, and an average of one minute longer than 1980s kids did, the scientists report June 25 in Developmental Psychology.
Reasons for kids’ rising patience when confronted with an available treat are unclear. Carlson&rsquo