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Posted: February 9th, 2023

Walter Mischel’s experiment called the “marshmallow test”

WK4 Discussion Consider: Imagine that you were invited to participate in Walter Mischel’s experiment called the “marshmallow test” when you were a child (age 3, 4, or 5). Predict how you would have responded (at age 3, 4, or 5) to the marshmallow test (which used different candies, crackers, and snacks, not just marshmallows).

Respond to all three questions in 175+ words (total).

Would you have been able to exercise willpower, self-regulation, and delayed gratification (at age 3, 4, or 5)? Why or why not?
What techniques did you use or (in reflection) should have used to delay gratification?
Based on your (hypothetical) response to the marshmallow test, what might Skinner’s Behaviorist theory have to say about your childhood personality? Incorporate these 2 terms in your response:
Social control – Ch. 16, p. 519
Self-control, Ch. 16, p. 520

At age 3, 4, or 5, a child’s ability to exercise willpower, self-regulation, and delayed gratification is limited by their developmental stage. At these ages, children are still developing their self-control abilities and may find it difficult to resist the temptation of a treat in front of them. However, individual differences can play a role, and some children may have better self-regulation abilities at this age than others.

Techniques for delaying gratification could include distractions, such as playing with toys or imagining a future reward, and reminders of the future reward, such as thinking about how the treat will taste even better after waiting.

According to Skinner’s Behaviorist theory, a child’s response to the marshmallow test could be seen as a result of their personality and the conditioning they have experienced in their environment. Social control, such as the expectations and rewards set by caregivers and peers, can shape a child’s behavior and contribute to their self-control abilities. Skinner would also view self-control as a learned behavior that can be strengthened through reinforcement and repetition.

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