In how to delay gratification can be

In 1970 Mischel and Ebbesen conducted the Marshmallow Test. This was a test done with a group of children. Each child was put into a room with a marshmallow and were told that if they waited they would be able to get a second one. Mischel and Ebbesen found that children who were able to hold off on eating their marshmallow and show their ability to delay gratification would become more successful, with higher SAT scores and become more emotionally stable later in life. Murray and Theakston and Wells recently conducted a study to see if it is possible to use attention training on children to improve their ability to delay gratification and therefore provide them with better skills for the future. The ability to teach children how to delay gratification can be very beneficial for them later in life. Therefore it is important to understand how to teach them so educators will be able to use some of these methods with their students. The purpose this study was to see if it was even possible to change children or if their ability to delay gratification and use self regulation to not eat the marshmallow was something that was already a part of them. The researchers hypothesized that children who received the attention training or ATT would be able to delay gratification better than the children who do not receive ATT. The main component of this study was the attention training. Murray et al. (2015) describe this as an eleven minute video in which there are a series of sounds, for example, bird noises or a clock ticking, and then a voice directing students to look in certain directions.   In this study there were 100 children from five different classes. Three of the classes received ATT and two did not. Out of the 100 students 58% were male and 42% were female, their ages ranged from 5.2 to 6.52 years old with each child having been in school for between 2-7 months (Murray, Theakston, Wells, 2015). Specifically in the experimental group receiving ATT, there were 31 males and 28 females.The ethnicities of these children was not recorded. The test was conducted with schools in Greater Manchester, England which is England’s third most populated city (Elledge, 2015). The students were recruited during the summer with the researchers providing the teachers with a packet of information and consent forms to distribute to the students parents. To create a baseline for the study Murray et al. (2015) conducted a recreation of the Marshmallow test done in 1970. They used either a chocolate button or a Haribo sweet and gave each student 13 minutes alone in the room. They then recorded the children who at the sweet or those who didn’t, along with the amount of time that children waited to eat the sweet.  Along with this test the researchers also gave each participate two other tests. The first was called the “day and night test”. Students were asked to say the word “day” when the card with the moon was shown to them and “night” when the card with a sun was shown to them. Researchers then recorded the number of errors that the child made. The second procedure included a 5 part scale with a different emotion for each part. The children were then asked questions and were asked to bubble in the emotion that they felt. An example of the questions that were asked are “most of the time I feel” and “compared to other people I feel “. The initial tests found that there was no significant difference between the control and experimental group (Murray, et al., 2015) Once the initial testing was done the teachers in the experimental group, the group receiving the ATT, were given their instructions. They were to teach normally but play the eleven minute ATT video to the whole class on three different days during the week (Murray et al., 2015) In this study the researchers concluded that children who were given ATT had significant increases in their ability to delay gratification. The children who received no ATT also had a slight increase but much less than the other group. The ATT classrooms were 3.34 times as likely to delay gratification as they were at the beginning of the study. Therefore the hypotheses of Murray et al. were found correct in this study (2015). The findings in this study would be very useful for parents and teachers of young children. If giving children ATT can help them in their future I think it is something that should be considered to be added to classrooms. Especially with children who struggle with the Marshmallow test. I did not find any controversies in this study though I did think of some limitations. I think it would have been interesting to include the ethnicities of the children and how that correlates to their ability to delay gratification. From experiences as a babysitter I’ve noticed that some ethnicities are better at this than others. Despite their inability to see if the results of the test would continue into adulthood, this research study did provide many strengths. It was interesting to find that children can change their ability to delay gratification and not eat the sweet that was provided to them. And by doing this it is possible that they have improved children’s likelihood of having a more successful adulthood. This research study provided further information on the original Marshmallow test. It has given teachers, parents, and other researchers more tools to be able to improve children’s ability to delay gratification. I have always found the marshmallow test very interesting.Now knowing both the implications of not being able to wait for the second marshmallow as well as knowing that with ATT you can alter the way children respond to this test, I might employ some of the training that they used to help my future students. Some features that still need to be addressed addressed by the researchers is the likelihood of this change sticking. Morray et al., is unable to know if the progress the experimental group has will continue later in life which also means they are not sure if the benefits that self regulation has will also continue in their futures (2015). This is important because if the results of this test only last for a couple of months or even a year the positive effects may go away as well. Then it seems less worthwhile to do ATT if it will have no real long term effects.