The Sweet Reward

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment of the early 1970s. It is a hallmark in behavioral psychology circles, and offered valuable insight into the study of delayed gratification.

Here’s how it worked: 4-year-old children were taken one at a time into a room and given a single marshmallow. They were told they could eat the marshmallow immediately or, if they resisted the temptation for 15 minutes, they could have two marshmallows.

About one-third of the children ate the marshmallow at once, while another third deferred dessert long enough to obtain a second marshmallow. What made the experiment famous was researcher Walter Mischel’s finding from 1990 — that children who delayed eating the marshmallow scored significantly higher on SAT tests as 18-year-olds.

Psychologists describe these more successful children as having improved impulse control. In other words, even at a young age they saw the value of being in it for the long haul.

Here at the Mackinac Center, we’re in it for the long haul, too.

Even when we have short-term impact — as we often do through our research studies, news reports or legislative testimony — it’s part of our long-term commitment to help Michigan and its residents fully realize the benefits of free enterprise, individual liberty, limited government and respect for private property.

When supporters like you join the Mackinac Center, you help advance ideas for the long haul — ideas that have enormous impact on improving people’s daily lives.

Of course, some of our work looks different today than it did a decade ago. Today we reach more people by email and on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. We now sponsor a daily news operation, Michigan Capitol Confidential, at MichCapCon
.com. We launched a public interest law firm, the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation.

But wherever you find us, you find the same long-term focus on America’s founding principles. It takes discipline, but the rewards are twice as sweet.