Monday, April 11, 2011

Episode 613

A famous study, initiated at Bing Nursery School, tested children's capacities for delayed gratification.  They were given a marshmallow and told that they could either eat it right away, or, if they waited a certain amount of time, they would be given two marshmallows (basically a gold mine for a 3-year-old).  After following up with the participants decades later, researchers noticed that those who had waited for the second marshmallow had higher SAT scores and were generally described as more competent.  So: wait for the second one and not only do you get two marshmallows, but you apparently get life-long success.  You can see a rather hilarious repetition of the experiment here.

Television has recently decided to conduct this experiment on the American public.  NBC will be airing the final season of Friday Night Lights beginning next Friday, but because it was already aired on DirecTV, the DVDs were released last week.  This gave us all the option: buy the DVDs and watch them all at once for immediate but short-lived joy, or wait for them to air week by week, thus delaying (and extending) gratification.

In case you were wondering, I ate the marshmallow.  And it was absolutely worth a future of incompetence and failure.

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