Decision Making On The Marshmallow Task

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Kidd, C., Palmeri, H., Aslin, R. N., (2013), Rational snacking: Young children’s decision-making on the marshmallow task is moderated by beliefs about environmental reliability. Cognition, 126(1), 109-114. url: v126i0001/109_rsycdombbaer.xml#cited
Research question or issue: The researchers conducting the experiment were evaluating the ability that children have to make rational decisions when performing delayed gratification tasks. The analysts wanted to observe the effect of the environment’s reliability on the participants’ decision making. The researchers wished to confirm or disprove their predictions that a child’s perception of their environment will affect their decision making. They also wanted to test their prediction that children have not yet developed the ability to suppress there motive for prompt gratification. During the classic marshmallow task children were offered a choice between eating one marshmallow immediately or waiting and receiving a second. The study found that most children are unable to wait very long before deciding to eat the marshmallow they have in front of them.
The results of the classic marshmallow task compelled them to postulate this hypothesis.
The researchers evaluated 28 participants, male and female, from age three years and six months to five years and ten months. Among them, none had recently attended the laboratory where the experiment was

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