Jeffrey Watson  writes:

I wonder if specs as children would eat the marshmallow now or wait the 15 minutes and get another one?


Stefan Jovanovich  writes:

The fraud in social science is that its practitioners almost always end up being Platonists.  Instead of doing what Darwin and others did - collecting data in massive quantities and then using mathematics to find the probabilities, they define an idea - delayed gratification - and then work at finding the evidence that proves that the idea exists.  The law - the worst of all modern social sciences - does this automatically.  If you repeated the marshmallow experiment a hundred times, you would get the beginnings of understanding.  You might discover that the issue with the child who does not wait on the first trial is trust of strangers, that, after seeing that waiting does get you a second one, he is happy to wait as long as required.  If you change the reward structure so it is competitive - the one who waits longer gets 2, you would see yet another result.  The length of the finches' beaks is a statistical response to reality, not a measure of any particular bird's desire for instant or delayed gratification.

To answer Watsurf's question, for marshmallows I could wait forever - hate the things and always have.  For black licorice, I would have stolen the other kids before he had a chance to think.

Anna K writes: 

Stefan, very good points about all the issues with the test, but do you really think that “delayed vs instant gratification” doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter? 

Stefan Jovanovich  writes:

To give AK's questions a binary answer, No and No.  Delayed gratification is another categorical description that pretends human beings have innate behavioral qualities that can be quantitied, will be stable over time, and have predictive value.  But, the only measure that more than a century of experimental  data has shown to have a correlation with future behavior is the one that makes no effort to dissect people's minds but takes them completely as a whole - IQ.  And that, of course, is the very measure that has become illegal because it can foretell what individuals can and will do.

Penny Brown writes: 

Towards that end, De Blasio has decided to end testing to determine which students receive a place in schools for the gifted and talented.

No one is allowed to be superior in his world.  He has foster the dumbing down of education because having superior achievers is not equal.

Henceforth admission to the schools for  gifted students will just be determined by a lottery.


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