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A video has been circulating recently that’s as funny as it is interesting.

Here’s the setup:

1. A child is put in a room on their own for 20 minutes.

2. They are given one tantalizing marshmallow to keep them company.

3. They can eat the marshmallow whenever they’d like BUT if they can wait for 20 miutes then they get another marshmallow – for a total of two.

An easy choice right? Not so much.

It’s turns out that it’s a kind of harmless, delicious torture.

Video is below for your lulz pleasure. The science behind this is fascinating – the geeky stuff follows the vid if you want to know more (and if you want to learn how not to screw up your whole life).

Click subtitles if you’d like (bottom left):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

This video is a recreation of a formal experiment that was run at Standford in the 60’s (popularized by Daniel Goleman) which used the exact same scenario to explore the human ability to embrace deferred gratification.

What’s cool is that, following the experiment, the Standford scientists tracked all of the subjects for decades. So what could a single marshmallow possibly change?

Your whole life.

Check out this video (from the ever amazing Ted) for the dramatic results:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So what would I have done if I had been presented with this situation when I was 4?

I would’ve cried the minute my mom wasn’t around.

No I’m serious. I wish I was joking.

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