Don't Eat That Marshmallow! by Ellyn Davis, homes school marketplace, August 19, 2013
In the late 1960s, Walter Mischel, a psychology professor at Columbia University, performed a series of tests on preschoolers referred to as "The Marshmallow Tests."
Mischel "tested" over six hundred 4-year-olds by putting each child in a broom closet-sized room alone with no distractions and only a child-sized table and chair. On the table were a bell and a plastic plate.
Mischel would place a single marshmallow on the plate, and as he did, he made the child an offer: the little boy or girl could either eat one marshmallow right away or could wait while he stepped out for a few minutes, and when he returned he would bring a second marshmallow. But they only got the second marshmallow if they hadn't eaten the first one by the time Mischel re-entered the room. He also told the children that if they rang the bell on the table while he was away, he would come running back and they could eat one marshmallow but would forfeit the second.
Mischel followed these "Marshmallow Kids" for the next 18 years and made some startling discoveries about how our ability to resist a marshmallow as a 4 year old affects us years later.