Thursday, October 11, 2012

Nature, nurture both affect kids’ self-control

U. ROCHESTER (US) — Being able to delay gratification—often considered a predictor of a child’s future success—is as much a question of environment as innate ability, a new study shows.

"This study is an example of both nature and nurture playing a role," says Richard Aslin, professor of brain and cognitive sciences. "We know that to some extent, temperament is clearly inherited, because infants differ in their behaviors from birth. But this experiment provides robust evidence that young children’s action are also based on rational decisions about their environment." Here, four-year-old Evelyn Rose of Brighton, New York reenacts the marshmallow experiment. (Credit: J. Adam Fenster/U. Rochester)

For the past four decades, the “marshmallow test” has served as a classic experimental measure of children’s self-control: will a preschooler eat one of the fluffy white treats now or hold out for two later?
Children who experienced reliable interactions immediately before the marshmallow task waited on average four times longer—12 versus three minutes—than youngsters in similar but unreliable situations.


No comments: