Sunday, June 7, 2009

DONT eat the Marshmallow!

When I was in Aspen, Mike Pritchard shared this great Ted Talk with us:

And I just now showed it to Ethan and Bodhi, and their friends Caroline and Julia. Ethan is 7 1/2, Bodhi is 5 1/2, Julia is 7, and Caroline is 10. They watched the video and then decided as a group that they wanted to try the experiment themselves. We put three chocolate chips in a dish for each of them, and I showed them what six chocolate chips looked like.

They each picked a room in the house and went into that room, the rules were they couldn't talk to anyone or ask how much time had passed. If they didn't eat their chocolate chips, they could have three more, for a total of six when the timer went off.

Bodhi, who has his mom's issues with instant gratification (sorry, kid), sat RIGHT next to his bowl and sang songs to himself while looking longingly into the bowl. When he had to go potty half way through the experiment, he was relieved to have an excuse to get away from the chips. Unfortunately for him, I carried them into the bathroom and put them on the counter where he could see them.

Bodhi did not eat his chips, but reported that it was VERY hard, and that he thought about them the whole time and wanted to eat them.

Julia put hers up on a high shelf and played with transformers. She kept her back to the chips the whole time, and eventually moved across the room to get away from them. She reported that she knew they were there the whole time, but it wasn't that hard to stay away from them.

Ethan sat in his bedroom, put the bowl across the room, got a book off the shelf, sat on the step and read the book. He reported knowing the chips were there, but that it was easy to keep himself distracted.

Caroline was in the pantry, and she put the chips up on a table away from her, but she walked over to look at them a few times. She built elaborate structures out of the food on the shelves to keep herself distracted.

All the kids succeeded in not eating the chips. As soon as the extra chips were given out, the kids went to the table (because they were waiting for the rice crispy treats that had been cooling while we tried this experiment), and Bodhi downed his chocolate chips in about two seconds. The other three kids waited for their rice crispy treats and decorated them with the chocolate chips, and when Bodhi saw that, he wished he'd waited.

Caroline and Ethan both offered Bodhi a chocolate chip for decoration from their bowl.

Julia suggested that we try the experiment again, but with another rice crispy treat, and that we make the rules harder, where the treat has to be in front of you, and you can turn in your chair, but you can't play with anything or get up and walk away.

I told them we'd give it a try after they run off the sugar from this last experiment!!

1 comment:

Liat said...

This is so cool! Thank you for documenting this whole thing - it was really fun to read! I am aware of the study and am so impressed with the kids! Poor Bodhi, I knew he would have a hard time.