'mallow mentality

Broad Question

Does age affect delayed gratification?

Specific Question

Does age affect delayed gratification resistance of a marshmallow?


It is hypothesized that students of the pre - K grade will have similar time of resistance to the 8th grade students.

I think this because a majority of eighth graders have a do it now kind of personality. Eighth graders at this point aren’t thinking about what comes next they just think about right now. ABC news stated that “We live in a get-it-now environment where everything is about instant gratification.” I believe that an eighth grader could wait if they wanted to, but I don’t think that they want to. Two subjects of the pre-k grade and the kindergarten grade both made it through 15 minutes so that does mean that some subjects in the eighth grade can make it through.

Graph of Hypothesis



Independent Variable: The grades of the subjects.

Dependent Variable: Time of resistance of a marshmallow (s).

Variables That Need To Be Controlled:

1.Time measured in seconds by a timer.
2.The room itself.
3. The noise level.
4.The amount of distractions, there should be no distractions what so ever.
5. If the camera is visible or not.
6.How many marshmallows that they can have on there plate.
7.They need to stay seated.
8.The Script.
9.Height of chair.
10. Size and condition of Marshmallow.

Vocabulary List That Needs Explanation

Delayed Gratification - delaying a treat for a better a treat.

General Plan

Potential Problems And Solutions

A problem that appeared was that there was not enough time to test 60 students making it 10 students per grade. It was later changed to 15 children of three grades.

Safety Or Environmental Concerns

Safety Concerns would be if a test subject choked on a Marshmallow or had a reaction to the marshmallow. One test subject peed.

Experimental Design Page

This experiment was testing the time of resistance against eating a marshmallow for delaying gratification of eating a second marshmallow. I setup the experiments by giving permission slips to children of all the age groups mentioned in the material list and setting up a recording ipad and placing a marshmallow on a plate. I conducted the experiment by recording various subjects resisting the marshmallow, A script was used to give the same directions to each subject, being consistent. While recording I made observations of the subjects. After the end of all the trials mean time of residency was found to decipher if age affects delayed gratification.

Resources and Budget Table

Number needed
Where I will get this
Grants convenient store
Paper plate
Grants convenient store
Small room
small chair
Test subjects

Detailed Procedure

1. : Gather Materials, materials include:
  • 30 marshmallows, (in bags purchased at local convenience store)
  • a room, with a chair a projector a whiteboard and a table inside. ( room can be found at the Josiah Bartlett Elementary School, with the permission of a teacher.
Preferably the little corner in Mrs. Baileys room)

  • Two iPads setup with video being projected to the whiteboard. The ipad in the room with the subject will be disguised In the room. ( the second timer will act as a timer.)
  • a paper asking permission from the childrens parents. ( sent home with the children that the scientist will be using in your experiment.)
  • a white lab coat, (optional) (mostly for the appearance of looking professional).
  • a bell (purchased at local toy store, preferably The Toy Chest)
  • Find children of different grades, pre K, ,Sixth grade and Eighth grade.

3.Turn on IPad and screen projector.

4. Bring a child into the room.

5. Tell them to sit down in the chair.

6. Read as follows.
“Here is one marshmallow, I am going to leave, and if you don’t eat this by the time I come back then you will get another marshmallow, making you have two marshmallows all together.If you want to eat the marshmallow call my name and i will come rushing back.You have to stay seating the whole time and you can’t get up.”

7. Place the marshmallow down on the table, the marshmallow should be in a small styrofoam bowl, or paper plate.

8 . Time how long it takes for the child to resist the temptations of the marshmallow, watch footage with facetime/skype.

9.Record the times of resistance for your test subject and add to google docs whether the subject ate the marshmallow or got two.

10. Now repeat steps 1-10 .

11. Now average the times of the grades of the kids, to see if age affects resistance and willpower.

Data table:

lole12-b datatable small.jpg

Data Analysis



The Marshmallows used.
Marshmallow room picture.jpg
The room The subject was tested in.


The average time of delayed gratification for test subjects of the grades preschool, sixth grade, and eighth grade was 671 seconds. The average time of delayed gratification for the grade preschool was 387 seconds. The average time of delayed gratification for the sixth grade was 726 seconds. The average time of delayed gratification for the eighth grade was 900 seconds.


The experiment was conducted to figure out if age affects delayed gratification.
. The results show that age does affect delayed gratification, eighth graders and sixth graders waited longer than preschoolers. The average time for preschoolers was 387 seconds , the average time for sixth graders was 726, the average time for eighth graders was 900 seconds.


Does age affect delayed gratification of a marshmallow? The data prove that age does affect the time of resistance of a marshmallow.The experiment prove that age does in fact affect delayed gratification.
I observed that the students of the grade preschool that were the age of four had a harder time to resist temptations than the eighth and sixth graders and had an average of 387 seconds.The other students such as sixth grade who were the ages of eleven to twelve, and had an average of 726 seconds, as well as the students of the ages thirteen and fourteen who are in the eighth grade had an average of 900 seconds.
Some patterns going on through my experiment were that children at the age of four ate the marshmallow and children of the ages eleven through fourteen resisted it. Less than half of the preschoolers resisted temptations of a marshmallow more than half of the sixth graders resisted the marshmallows. All the eighth graders resisted marshmallows.
The results that happened, happened because the test subjects of the grades sixth and eighth are older than the test subjects of the preschool grade level, thus proving that as you age you become more compatible to be able to portray the act of delayed gratification.( those were all my own words.)
It was hypothesized that children of the grade pre school will have similar times of resistance against a marshmallow as eighth grade. This was hypothesized because it was believed that eighth graders would not want to wait because they are immature.

Benefit to Community and/or Science

Shows the way your brain works through the ages that's its changing and that it does.

Background Research

My Experiment was based on Dr.Mischels experiment called The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, done in the bing nursery at Stanford University. Mischel offered children to pick a treat off a tray and told them that if they waited and didn't eat it than they could have a second one, much like my experiment. Later research proved that children at the age of four that did succeed in waiting to recieve a second treat, which is called Delayed Gratification, had higher SAT scores, were more social, had better jobs, etc.

Youtube. Youtube, n.d. Web. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EjJsPylEOY youtube video>

"Standford Marshmallow Experiment."Wikipedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_marshmallow_experiment wikipedia>.

"Slate." Standford Marshmallow experiment. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2004. <www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/10/16/the_marshmallow_study_revisited_kids _will_delay_gratifcation_if_they_trust.html>

"New "marshmallow test" suggests trust matters - CBS News." Breaking News Headlines: Business, Entertainment & World News - CBS News. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57533516/new-marshmallow-test-suggests-trust-matters/>.

"The secret of self-control : The New Yorker." The New Yorker. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/20

" Mischel’s Marshmallows - Radiolab."Home - Radiolab. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Apr. 2013. <http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2009/mar/09/mischels-marshmallows/>.

"Wikipedia." Delayed Gratafication. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2004. <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_gratification#Effects_of_Age wikipedia age resistancy. 8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delayed_>.

Page 2: Inside the Teenage Brain - ABC News." ABCNews.com - Breaking News, Latest News & Top Video News - ABC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Apr. 2013. <http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/AmericanFamily/story?id=2248295&page=2>.
The Purpose of my experiment was to discover if age affects delayed gratification. It was hypothesized that subjects in the 6th grade would have higher time of resistance than the subjects of the 8th grade.In the experiment, subjects were placed in a small room with a camera and a marshmallow and had the option to eat it then and only get the one marshmallow or wait 15 minutes and get two marshmallows. All the subjects of the eighth grad waited the whole time. Only one sixth grader didn't wait the whole time and only two preschooler waited the whole time, the whole time being 15 minutes. The experiment answered the question that age does affect delayed gratification.