The Marshmallow Test


TheMarshmallow Test


The children who took the test exhibited various aspects ofmotivation theories. For example, some four-year-olds could not waitfor the instructor to return. Subsequently, they either rang the bellor ate the comfit soon after they received the instructions (Lehrer,2009). However, some youngsters delayed gratification until 15minutes had gone past. Notably, all children were genuinelyinterested in eating the two marshmallows (Lehrer, 2009). Therefore,those who managed to delay focused their attention away from theplate. In this regard, they distracted themselves by singing songsand pretending to play (Lehrer, 2009). On the other hand, those whostared at the candy succumbed to the desire.

Indeed, children who are aware of their feelings will experience moresuccess in resisting the urge to eat the confection. The James-Langetheory suggests that the youngsters’ emotional reaction resultedfrom a physiological response to the sight of marshmallows (Frye &ampMoore, 2014). Nevertheless, the Cannon-Bard theory implies that thechildren’s emotions caused their reactions. The latter propositiontheorizes that the excitement occurred concurrently with the physicalresponse (Frye &amp Moore, 2014). Moreover, the Schachter-Singertheory recognizes the dual impact of cognitive labels andphysiological arousal in determining emotion (Frye &amp Moore,2014). Therefore, the child’s emotional reactions would lead to thesearch of cues designed to label their physical reactions. Focusingon the candy made it harder to resist the overwhelming urge to eatbefore the instructor returned. The external stimulus of themarshmallow convinced the youngsters that they were hungry.Consequently, their increasing desire for the food made them extendtheir hand and grab the treat. Notwithstanding, children who wereaware of their craving for the second comfit passed the test.


Frye, D. &amp Moore, C. (2014). Children`s theories of mind:Mental states and social understanding. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor andFrancis.

Lehrer, J. (2009, May 18). Don’t! The secret of self-control. TheNew Yorker. Retrieved from