The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control

The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control

by Walter Mischel


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Renowned psychologist Walter Mischel, designer of the famous Marshmallow Test, explains what self-control is and how to master it.

A child is presented with a marshmallow and given a choice: Eat this one now, or wait and enjoy two later. What will she do? And what are the implications for her behavior later in life?

The world's leading expert on self-control, Walter Mischel has proven that the ability to delay gratification is critical for a successful life, predicting higher SAT scores, better social and cognitive functioning, a healthier lifestyle and a greater sense of self-worth. But is willpower prewired, or can it be taught?

In The Marshmallow Test, Mischel explains how self-control can be mastered and applied to challenges in everyday life — from weight control to quitting smoking, overcoming heartbreak, making major decisions, and planning for retirement. With profound implications for the choices we make in parenting, education, public policy and self-care, The Marshmallow Test will change the way you think about who we are and what we can be.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316230872
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/23/2014
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Walter Mischel holds the Robert Johnston Niven chair as professor of humane letters in psychology at Columbia University. He is the author of more than two hundred scientific papers as well as the coauthor of Introduction to Personality, now in its eighth edition. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has won the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of APA and the Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. He lives in New York.

Table of Contents

Introduction 3

Part I Delay Ability: Enabling Self-Control

1 In Stanford University's Surprise Room 13

2 How They Do It 28

3 Thinking Hot and Cool 43

4 The Roots of Self-Control 51

5 The Best-Laid Plans 61

6 Idle Grasshoppers and Busy Ants 70

7 Is It Prewired? The New Genetics 79

Part II From Marshmallows in Pre-K to Money in 401(k)

8 The Engine of Success: "I Think I Can!" 101

9 Your Future Self 123

10 Beyond the Here and Now 131

11 Protecting the Hurt Self: Self-Distancing 147

12 Cooling Painful Emotions 158

13 The Psychological Immune System 169

14 When Smart People Act Stupid 187

15 If-Then Signatures of Personality 195

16 The Paralyzed Will 206

17 Will Fatigue 215

Part III From Lab to Life

18 Marshmallows and Public Policy 233

19 Applying Core Strategies 254

20 Human Nature 273

Acknowledgments 281

Notes 283

Index 317

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